Terrified Melbourne homeowners are living in fear of notorious Apex gang members and are now forced to fortify their properties with barbed wire.
The frightened residents, who have armed themselves with baseball bats for protection, live in Melbourne’s western suburbs and are now restoring their homes with fencing in an attempt to stop the violent gang breaking in.
"That barbed wire is looking really good right now," one concerned resident says on Facebook.
Another claims she's already installed some.
"They will get cut to shreds trying to get over," she said on an unofficial neighbourhood watch page.
"And the best part is it's hidden so they don't know it's there until they grab it [the barbed wire]."
However, as quickly as it has gone up, residents may have to remove any barbed wire they have installed.
Both Brimbank and Wyndham city councils - in Melbourne's west and southwest - require a building permit before barbed wire can be attached to fencing bordering the street.
Concerned locals have reluctantly given up night-time patrols of western suburb streets following pressure from police and local government.
Organiser Rob revealed this week he had been threatened with arrest.
"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.
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The extreme fencing comes as it was revealed refugee parents of the out-of-control gang are sending their troublemaking kids back to war-torn countries to “straighten them out".
Members of the gang are predominately of African or Sudanese ethnicities, and mostly in their early 20s, but children as young as 13 have recently been arrested in connection with violent home invasions and carjackings.
The gang is from Melbourne’s south-east, named after Apex St in Dandenong North from where several of its founders hail, and have been on the police's radar for some time.
The gang is known for its public disturbance, stealing luxury cars and carrying out violent armed robberies and home invasions, acting out scenes reminiscent of violent video games like Grand Theft Auto.
The parents are fearing their children will spiral deeper into a life of crime if they stay here.
Police say some parents are at their wits’ end and reporting their children to police after recognising them on news reports, or going out into the streets to find their children before the police do.
Crime in Dandenong, the area that is most affected by the gang, is up 24 per cent.
Enrollments in self-defence classes have also soared in the region, as residents try to prepare themselves should they fall victim to a gang attack.
Victoria Police have escalated its response to home invasions and carjackings across the state by allocating additional resources to prevent, deter and investigate these incidents.
"Day and night patrols are being conducted at high risk locations to prevent offences taking place," a police spokesperson said.
More than 75 people have been arrested since Operation Cosmas began in May.