A criminologist has urged the media and politicians to check their language when providing commentary on the apparent African youth crime problem in Victoria.
In the past week, federal and state authorities as well as African community leaders have been weighing in on the issue after reports of a spike in 'gang-related' incidents.
Several incidents involving young African men have been making headlines recently including a brawl at a McDonald's in St Kilda, vandalising a community centre in Tarneit, in Melbourne's west, and an Airbnb property in Werribee, southwest of the city.
But University of Melbourne criminologist Mark Wood said co-offending among young people in Victoria had dropped over the last 10 years.
He said a combination of xenophobia towards new migrant communities, conservative ideology and a market-driven media were conducive to sensational reporting.