Twice a year when the Albert Park Grand Prix and the St. Kilda festival rolls around my area gets totally trashed by people who don’t live here.
Acland Street turns into an after dark nightmare and you inevitably wind up being the victim of a random bashing, your girlfriend gets harassed or some idiot is trying to pick a fight with you in a bar because you looked at his shoelaces wrong.
Thankfully for the other 50 weekends in the year things here are pretty good as far as suburban trash polluting the area go.
Unfortunately for Melbourne’s CBD though, these infestations of lower socio-economic uneducated dropkicks are a weekly occurrence.
Finally someone has stood up and said enough is enough.
I don’t know what it is specifically about the western suburbs that gets my back up but for the longest time I can remember, I’ve hated the place.
Maybe it was my first day of university in St. Albans crossing a road on a pedestrian crossing and having a driver sit on his horn when I made him stop and then get out of his car and threaten a punch on.
Or the time I was sitting on a train minding my own business when some little kid on the outside came up and tapped on the window. When I looked he’d wriggle his eyebrows and just stood there. If I looked away he’d tap again and do the same eyebrow wiggle.
When the train eventually started to pull away he ran with it for a bit and then spat all over the window.
Perhaps it was that one night I was driving through Sunshine to get to a party and realised at 8pm on a Saturday night the main street of Sunshine was depressingly dead. The only thing open with lights on was Blockbuster video.
Yes it could be any one of those things but it’s probably a combination of all three and many more experiences that have led to a sinking feeling in my stomach everytime I cross over the western side of the CBD.
On any given Saturday night in Melbourne’s CBD it’s pretty easy to find violence on the streets.
There’s the crazy Vietnamese mobs from Footscray running around macheting people for stealing their women, the angry Sudanese ghetto groups from Kensington gangbashing anyone who dosn’t ‘respekt’ them (or looks Indian), as well as the white trash who will turn on anyone who gets inbetween their violent loud domestic disputes because Bazza won’t share his cig with Shazza.
Not surprisingly half of the assaults occurring in Melbourne’s CBD, the Docklands and Southbank are perpetrated by those living in Melbourne’s west and northwest suburbs.
Although a difficult topic to tackle what given the racial factors as well as potentially pissing off half your electorate, it’s good to see that at least on a local level Melbourne’s Mayor Robert Doyle is speaking out about it.
Mr Doyle said more needed to be done to stop “bogan” troublemakers in their home suburbs before they entered the city.
“These are people that travel into the city and what they do is, they come in looking for trouble,” Mr Doyle told ABC Radio today.
CBD CCTV footage of such troublemakers roaming the streets has been well documented.
Although I commend Doyle for speaking up on the matter I’m not entirely in agreeance with his proposed solution. Doyle proposes a leaf out of New York’s book and pushes an increased police force targeting hotspot suburbs as well as a mobile ‘flying squad’ able to respond to call outs.
While I’m all for increased police presence (I’m a strong subscriber to ‘if you don’t look like scummy trash the police will leave you alone’), I don’t think more police are necessary the answer.
Instead I’d prefer the policing we have being actually backed up by our courts.
In July, John Caratozzolo was caught red handed on a curry bashing spree (beating up Indians for their mobile phones) which resulted in the murder of Chinese man Zhongjun Cao.
“You wanted to cause them physical injury,” the judge said. “You took the trouble to learn how to swear at Indians. Not only that, but the language you used was designed to cause the maximum offence. That is unequivocally racist … your crimes did exhibit a racist element. The court must at every appropriate opportunity condemn racially based crime.”
Justice Harper said crime based upon racism was a negation of Australia’s fundamental values.
Despite negating ‘Australia’s fundamental values’ and the lack of any sort of defense of his actions, Caratozzolo was sentenced to 15 years, eligible for parole in 10.
In 2008 Aaron Toal was dared by a mate for $10 to randomly punch Yuxiong Han. The punch sent Han into the path of a car and he later died in hospital.
Toal was convicted and sentenced to a 2 year, 500 hour community service order.
But perhaps the most shocking court sentencing for a violent crime was the Sunshine station bashing of a man by Ahmed Mohamed, Monda Mentel and Maluac Kiir earlier this year. You can watch the CCTV footage of the attack below:
The trio pleaded guilty and were given jail sentences. Mohamed was given 22 months with 13 months parole, Mentel eighteen months with nine months parole and Kiir seventeen months with seven months parole.
Infact so laughable are Victoria’s sentencing on violent crimes that teenagers in Geelong quite casually film themselves bashing complete strangers and then post the videos on Youtube and social networking sites.
BRAZEN thugs have bragged about their violent attacks on Geelong streets in two graphic videos posted on YouTube.
One of the alleged attackers has embedded a video where he is seen to tackle a man and repeatedly knee him in the head on his MySpace page.
Apparently the police weren’t even aware of the video until the newspaper sent them a link.
Doyle can throw all the police in the world at Melbourne’s western suburbs trash problem but with courts handing out sentences like these, does anybody really think things are going to change?
Of course instead of trying to rehabilitate and un-stupidify our western neighbours or fix up our horrendously failing court system, we could just bomb the Westgate and sink Footscray road.
Much cheaper and as a bonus the rest of us never have to deal with the rabble that lives there again.
Hows about it Doyle?