Victorian Chief Police Commissioner Graham Ashton made the comments yesterday, saying that other chief commissioners had also witnessed similar effects in their respective states.
Those effects are, put simply, a rise in the crime rate. In the year to December 2015, the crime rate in Victoria soared by 8.1 percent. Drug trafficking and dealing offences rose by 17.7 percent; the rate of drug use and possession climbed by 16.5 percent.
Commissioner Ashton said on Victorian breakfast radio that “there seems to be a lot of disengagement with our youth across the country”, with the statistics showcasing a rise in car thefts and aggravated burglaries.
“Some of the [other chief] commissioners have described it as the Grand Theft Auto generation starting to manifest itself, because there’s a real trend around wanting to steal cars,” Commissioner Ashton told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
The Herald Sun also quoted the commissioner as saying “they are playing out and living as action heroes in our streets”. He didn’t specifically indicate how Grand Theft Auto was linked to the crimes.
The Australian also reported the news by saying the Commissioner “must be wishing for a revival of the original video game Pong” as a result of the news. “Grand Theft Auto is a video game where the players are rewarded for stealing cars, in stark contrast to Pong’s innocent pursuit of batting a ball around the screen,” the outlet wrote this morning.
It’s not the first time this year Grand Theft Auto has been linked to crime. Victorian Southern Metro Assistant Police Commissioner Bob Hill has said the Apex street gang, believed to be chiefly involved in the Melbourne’s recent public brawl, had been encouraging their members to criminal missions akin to in-game quests.
“They start to challenge each other in terms of what and how you should next commit crime,” the assistant commissioner told Stuff.co.nz earlier this week.