Victoria’s Chief Police Commissioner Blames ‘Grand Theft Auto Generation’ For Rising Crime

Victoria’s Chief Police Commissioner Blames ‘Grand Theft Auto Generation’ For Rising Crime

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 earlier this week.


  • I think Australia’s social fabric coming apart has a lot more to do with pokies, families smashed up by ice and other problems, and the relatively new focus on ‘You deserve it now, not later, why should you have to wait for anything anymore’ that has permeated our society, than on video games…

    • But video games are such an easy scapegoat, just like comic books were before them.

      It’s got nothing to do with as you said the prevalence of pokies, gambling adverts every where, the glorification of binge drinking, the growing income and wealth disparity, the destruction of the family unit, the loss of community involvement, or the fact that profitable and acceptable drugs like alcohol and nicotine are ok, but we maintain criminalistation of marijuana which contributes massively to our drug convictions and statistics.

      • But video games are such an easy scapegoat, just like comic books were before them.

        Personally, I blame the rap music.

    • Yeah there is that wholé ice epidemic thing happening which may cause a problem or two…naa probably gta. don’t forget the manhunt generation for rise in murders, Mario generation for mushroom takers and increase in plumbers, and wii sports generation for angry Aussie tennis players

    • Actually, Australia is just as safe, if not safer than it has always been. The things you listed aren’t really smashing our social fabric apart. Not to say they aren’t social issues.

      Not to say I disagree that other things are more likely associated with an increase in people charged with drug crimes (i.e. a big increase in police funding, particularly anti-drug teams to fight the ‘ice scourge’ over the past few state and federal bydgets help them catch and charge more people, doesn’t mean the crime wasn’t happening prior to them being caught.)

      • That’s kind of what he’s saying…

        That if there IS an existing issue that the constant promotion of gambling, alcohol availability, the macho representation of alcohol in a country supposedly dedicated to stamping out domestic violence etc, the failed war on drugs, is a more likely cause of crime than any videogame.

    • Id also like to add in the lack of funding for extra police and paramedics in regional areas as well. And thats actual police and paramedics too, not civilian public servants.

    • apparently i was becoming a satanist by playing Dungeons and Dragons back in the 80’s – from all i’ve read the Aussie media were one of the worst for jumping on this bandwagon

  • OR – and this is just wild, baseless conjecture – maybe, just maybe, the increase in youth crime rates might be caused by closely-corresponding increases in youth unemployment and underemployment for the same time period?

    Just thinking out loud.

    (Besides. I’m in the Grand Theft Auto generation and we’re in our 30s, not our teens/early-20s thankyouverymuch.)

  • I know what he means. Ever since GTA, I’ve been stealing all the cards. Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, Library cards..

  • Who needs research and solid evidence when we have hearsay and wild speculation!

    That’s some mighty fine police work there.

  • Despite recent surges in arrests and convictions (which I’d attribute to better policing and technology), aren’t violent crimes at historical lows?

    • That’s probably why he’s focusing on the car-theft, as opposed to everything else you do in GTA. 🙂

  • Last night, Channel 7 Victoria either quoted someone saying or themselves said ‘the R-Rated computer game Grand Theft Auto’.

    Can anybody chime in with what the full quote? I don’t have a Catch-up app or sometihing to check.

    Impossible to talk about GTA in any proper context here when the allure of its ‘danger’ is blatantly used to sell it every other day. You may as well be using hand puppets in discussions like this.

    I read something that dared to analyse what was actually happening in The Division’s in-game world and then proceeded to give it a 5. The nerve!

  • Easy target, blaming video games without any solid evidence or study apart from a media reports that emphasis GTA and Call of Duty type games.

    Do these people/public servants/politicians even think to analyse the root causes for statistics relating to crime?

    There would be a magnitude of causes ranging from socioeconomic to cultural issues that impacts a persons decision to be a criminal. You would need expert analysis from a range of sources to properly determine whether video games are to blame for rising crime figures.

  • Sounds like the dumb ass thing a police Commissioner would try blame this on. Hey nothing to do with their policing tactics or lack of visbility on the streets to try curb this purely through having a police officer walking down the Rd. No instead they are all out on the corners of rd’s and in behind their radars raising that revenue. Policing in this country sucks try blame something else you morons liek YOURSELVES.

  • Did anyone else read the article title and have their inner monologue make a similar statement to “awww come on noooo, noooooooo just don’t”

  • Remember, when videogames are nonsensically blamed for crime, pretend there’s actually a point to the stupid, clearly unsubstantiated diatribe like we were told to when GTA V was removed from Target due to misinformation. It’s only fair we apply this stupid philosophy in every direction.

  • I remember i was 13 when my parents bought me a PS2 with one game, that one game was GTA III, i have played all GTA games since and i am not going out carjacking or smacking prostitutes with a baseball bat.

    There are a million factors why youth commit crimes and vidya games would have to be the last on that list.

    • Gawd, I want to find the notes on some US report that suggested that increased up-take of video games was keeping disenfranchised youth off the streets, in their homes in largely solitary/online-social activities, instead of turning to gangs, hence the steady and marked reduction in violent crime in the last couple decades.

  • Vic commissioner needs to get his head checked, he’s past his prime and living in a time he doesnt understand. As time goes by its becoming more and more our generation, get used to it because soon the ‘criminal gamers’ are going to be running this shit

  • 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.

    Oh, but then pong paddle beatings will be on the rise.

  • Are we really going through this again? I can’t figure out if they have it out for video games, or just looking for a convienient scapegoat lol

  • Does this mean that with the popularity of Crossy Road we’re going to see a rise in Jaywalking?

  • I assumed it was rising cost of living combined with lack of jobs, higher unemployment and a growing percentage of the population now been under the poverty line and left with no other option. Changing how the official unemployment numbers are collected and qualified for to make your numbers look better does not magicaly give those people jobs.

  • Police are useless. They don’t want to help you, they want to look good. Most of them are delusional. The good ones still suck. If you honestly believe the police do their job properly you’re living in a fantasy. As much as we need them to exist they need to change, offensive out of touch quotes like this aren’t funny they’re shameful.

  • If only we’d had an R rating for games 20 years ago, maybe some of those kids wouldn’t have been able to get their hands on GTA during their young, formative years. But then I suspect that people who turn out like this do so largely because their parents are useless and don’t know or care what their kids are watching, playing or doing anyway.

    • I also don’t remember being rewarded for stealing cars either, I remember the police coming after me in a tank and trying to MURDER me.

  • “Did you know that 85% of inmates in Australian gaols have played a video game?…..THINK ABOUT IT!”
    *drops mic

    • just to add more fuel to fire.. the majority of the ADF play video games as well, but better name would be THE KILLBOT FACTORY

  • Well hes not going to blame it on how his generation raised their kids is he.
    It coudn’t be parenting fails… must be those darn video games.

  • Victoria’s Chief Police Commissioner Blames ‘Grand Theft Auto Generation’ For Rising Crime

    “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 cards [sic],” Commissioner Ashton told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.One of these things is not like the other…

    …and it’s disappointing to see a dedicated gaming site like Kotaku use the same bullshit click-bait headline as mainstream media outlets who salivate at the idea of being able to blame something like a video game for the decay of polite society.

    The commissioner didn’t blame GTA for anything, and his one mention of it was only to repeat what someone else said to him.

    • I get what you’re saying about mis-attributing the words, but he’s clearly using it to highlight a point that he agrees with.

  • “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 cards,” Commissioner Ashton told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

    What kind of cards, why are people stealing them, & what the hell could cards possibly have to do with GTA?

  • Grand Theft Auto, please, I’ve been violent on the streets since 92, using knifes, baseball bats, whips and excessive high kicks, ever since playing Streets of Rage 2.

  • i blame the police, there always inciting people to angry have there own faces riped off!

  • Well he’s right. I can’t remember how many times I got suspended back in primary school for doing E. honda’s hundred hand slap on unsuspecting kids. Also put a few in hospital with my Sonic Booms and Hadukens

    Now where did I leave that hooker’s body…

  • Police are like all other government bodies They get budgets. If you say all is well crimes down this and that is down your budget gets cut. You have to make up new enemies to justify your budgets. If you do your job to we’ll you make yourself redundant so you invent false issues so you can get money for them. Spend none in it because it doesn’t exist and then next election who ever is on government can praise them for riding the world of what ever boogeyman it was.

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