American readers might not be aware that the emergence of the Apex gang is big news here in Melbourne. The gang often makes it to the front page of the papers, as it is something we haven't seen much of before (we have had organised crime gangs, but they were mostly involved in trafficking drugs, and they committed violence against rival gangs rather than against members of the public). The Apex gang has carried out violent carjackings and home invasions, which the public here aren't used to.
Typical of news reports (this one appeared just two days after John Derbyshire's column was published) is this Herald Sun front page story:
EXCLUSIVE: POLICE are bracing for a new wave of youth crime to sweep the state with the imminent release of dozens of notorious Apex gangsters from custody.
Up to 30 Apex members and associates - some considered leaders of the feared outfit - are now due to be released.
The worst Apex offenders were last year and earlier this year sent to youth detention and adult prisons for serious violent crimes including home invasions and carjackings.
But most were sentenced in children’s courts meaning their lockup terms ran over months rather than years and are now due to be freed into the community.
One is suspected of being a founding member of Apex.
The member has been involved in car-jackings and armed robberies in the southeastern suburbs and is regarded as influential among younger associates.
Senior police have told the Sunday Herald Sun they mark the release dates of jailed juveniles in their calendars in anticipation of a crime spike.
More recently a female offshoot of Apex has formed, called the "Aces". There is a video of members of this gang attacking a house somewhere in Melbourne: