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Melbourne vigilantes cease street patrols

AAP logoAAP 1/08/2016 By Luke Costin

Concerned locals have reluctantly given up their night-time patrols of Melbourne streets following pressure from police and local government.

Vigilantes started the patrols of Melbourne's west three weeks ago after a spate of violent break-ins and carjackings.

One of the organisers, Rob, say he's been threatened with arrest and will now cease patrolling the streets.

"The police have contacted us and requested us to stop all action immediately, and under this threat, we have no choice but to comply," he said in a Facebook post.

"I'd like to thank the whole community for their ongoing support that has kept us going.

"What we achieved is awareness and community spirit and a bond."

Locals say by driving up to nine hours each night they kept the streets safe, thwarted break-ins and turned up several leads for police investigations.

They were concerned local police didn't have the resources to properly patrol the streets themselves.

Police became increasingly concerned as sport shops in the western suburbs sold out of baseball bats.

Wyndham - a focus of the vigilante activity - has around 100 police for every 100,000 residents if local members and the criminal investigation, highway patrol and sexual crimes units are included.

The state average is roughly 160 per 100,000 population.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton last week identified Melton as "quite stretched" and police in Cranbourne as "flat-chat", but he said hotspots have been saturated with additional resources such as task forces and the dog squad.

Cosmas, a task force dedicated to investigating aggravated burglaries and carjackings, has made around 80 arrests and charged dozens of alleged offenders since its creation at the start of May.

The Andrews government says 700 people will graduate from the police academy in the next 12 months as police graduates.

Another 300 will become protective services officers or custody officers.

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