15 Wild party crackdown
LEADERS of Melbourne’s African community are considering attending teen parties undercover in a bid to stop them spiralling out of control.
The planned measure follows a spate of wild parties where short-stay rental houses were trashed and violence directed towards police trying to break up the mayhem.
It is believed youths have been using fake or stolen credit cards to rent the properties.
African leaders on a joint police-community taskforce have told the Sunday Herald Sun that teens renting and damaging Airbnb properties were hurting the reputations of migrant communities.
They plan to attend parties they suspect could go awry and monitor plans — saying such events were often organised “underground” at the last minute using social media such as Facebook and Snapchat.
“Not all the young people who are hiring these venues have malicious intent,” leader John Kuot said.
“We want to communicate with these young people and put some strategies in place to make sure they can continue to have fun and that it’s not in a way that’s going to lead to people’s property being damaged — and to ensure the safety of the public.”
Victoria Police is looking at ways to respond to out-of-control parties in short-term rentals. One “powerless” Footscray homeowner was last weekend forced to stand by as rampaging partygoers trashed her rental property amid confusion about whether police had the power to enter.
A group of girls claiming to be from Adelaide had rented the house — possibly using fake ID and stolen credit cards.
But instead, about 50 young African men rioted and smashed walls and windows.
A 19-year-old Point Cook man was arrested for drunken behaviour and further arrests are anticipated.
At another party in North Melbourne late last month, about 50 youths trashed a house before several threw logs at police cars and at least one stomped on a police car.
The Sunday Herald Sun believes police have a list of suspects in the case, with arrests imminent.
Victoria Police spokesman, Acting Sgt Alistair Parsons, said the force was working on an operational response plan for dealing with wild parties.
“Dealing with rowdy or outof-control house parties is not a new issue for Victoria Police — we have been responding to these problems for decades,” he said.
“The rise in popularity of short-term leases, however, does present new legal challenges for Victoria Police.”