A group of frustrated Queensland residents decided to take matters into their own hands this weekend by hunting down alleged teen criminals amid the state's 'crime wave'.
The group of more than 100 vigilantes in Rockhampton knocked on the doors of allegedly known young criminals— after being tipped off — to try speak to them, while police were forced to guard the homes in a tense standoff.
"This is the fastest police response I've ever seen and it's when these bastards are in danger," former One Nation candidate Torin O'Brien — who led the charge — said in a video by The Courier Mail on Sunday. "You guys [referring to police] are sick of it, it's time you all stand with us."
The anti-crime protest was reportedly sparked by teens allegedly breaking into a local's home, stealing their car keys and then holding them in social media photos.
Mr O'Brien took to Facebook to offer $5,000 to reveal the names of those responsible.
"There’s clearly been zero leadership surrounding this crime wave of gross little ferals," he posted. "The town is angry and the police are worried… good, maybe they can feel our fear and will do more, but we all know it’s the government and court system letting us down."
The protest went on for several hours before police gave the remaining crowd move-on orders in the afternoon.
Premier urges locals to be patient for new laws to 'take effect'
Queensland's parliament in March passed a raft of laws targeting young people, including harsher prison terms for car thieves and new penalties for people who boast about crime on social media.
The changes also make it a crime for a child to breach their bail conditions, allow GPS trackers on children as young as 15, and let courts declare certain youths serious repeat offenders.
"I can't stop every single instance of youth crime but we can throw everything at it," Ms Palaszczuk said. "They [new laws] will take time to take effect."
Posting crimes to social media can encourage copycat behaviour, and platforms such as Facebook can do more to "clamp down" on publication, the premier said.
Following widespread community anger after a teenager allegedly caused a triple-fatal collision on April 30 in Maryborough, the government last Thursday also pointed to a study saying a police-sponsored program in Cairns has significantly reduced offending among its teenage participants.
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