Saturday, July 13, 2024

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HomeIssue 17Alice Springs Facebook vigilantes or neighbourhood watch?

Alice Springs Facebook vigilantes or neighbourhood watch?

From letting off steam about crime in The Alice to helping solve some of it – it’s all on a Facebook site called Assist your local Alice Springs Police.
It has 1143 members and local Police Senior Sergeant Michael Potts is the administrator.
Frustration and anger are the hallmarks of many of the posts: “id rather be in America cause while they can sue me they have to live to do that. Its legal to shoot them as they break in. Now thats really what we are coming to. no kidding. people are sick of being broken into by kids that are untouchable.”
Or: “do we get a government rebate on security devices and guns i got it for my solar panels to help the future of the town.”
Or: “if I catch anyone in my house I will be calling an ambulance not the police.”
Some members seem happy about stopping short about taking the law into their own hands: “Spent half my easter upgrading our security at home just going to do our shed and done if somone farts at night i will know :). Oh and smile for the infered camra. 🙂 and yes i cant beleve after living here all my life having to go to this extreme but stuff it im going to make it hard for them.”
Most posts are carrying the author’s full name – or seem to be.
This exchange is about a stolen car:-
Seen a gold commo Ute near aliron on side of road (31 minutes ago).
Do you know if it was north or south and how far away? (20 minutes ago)
Was bout 20 km south on the Stuart highway clear tail lights. (14 minutes ago).
That seems to have been an early warning effort: “What the heck just happened in town??????????/ police everywhere.” (59 minutes ago).
🙁 so glad I didnt take my day care kids on our usual excursion then. (23 minutes ago).
Any updates??? (8 minutes ago).
The site says this group should not be seen as an alternative method of reporting incidents.
“This group is a public forum to assist your local Alice Springs police with any information that you believe may be able to assist with reducing the harm assoicated with crime and anti-social behaviour.”
It’s an “open group” which means people can join to become members and post comments, but also to delete them.
And that sparks more anger: “Hmmmm, why are comments being deleted on this site?? I think you will find that there are a numerous ammount of people on this site that are frustrated and want to put their 2c in!! and why shouldnt we??
“everyone seems to be dancing around the facts here out of fear of being called/labelled Racist. it is the Aboriginal DRUNKS and youths that come from these disfunctional and abusive situations that cause these problems so my question to you Michael Potts what is being done about the bottleshops, pubs, clubs, and other venues selling alochol to VERY OBVIOUSELY People that are DRUNKS to stop this behaviour??
“I have lived in this town all of my life, and to not take my family out for dinner in fear of being attacked by drunk aboriginal people is a JOKE.
“So Obviousely this comment will be deleted and I may be called a racist but hey, oh well, I see first hand what the children in these families are put through, why should the poison be spread into a already failing community all because we are scared of saying the word Aboriginal. from my point of view this town is turing into one Great big town camp.”


  1. So, no reporting on the fact that this site was the sole reason that the said Ute was found – hmmmm, biased perhaps? Or just too cynical to want to help our town maybe? The truth doesn’t make good reporting I guess. Just quotes from people who can’t follow guidelines!

  2. Nice to see ERWIN CHLANDA still cannot actually REPORT on things, but rather can cut and paste like a little kindergarten child trying to give a one way story! What about reporting on WHY these sites have started popping up! The town is SICK OF IT! You need only drive around town and look at all the 6 foot fences being erected around town, we need to live in fortresses to “almost” feel safe, and yet they STILL break into our sacred “fortress”. REPORT ON REAL PROBLEMS ERWIN! Any child can learn to “cut and paste” on a computer.
    [ED – Mai has a very poor understanding of what journalists do. In essence they quote what people say and report what they do, so long as it is newsworthy. The story she refers to was about a local online group of more than 1000 people some of whom advocate taking the law into their own hands and shooting burglars. That is news. We also reported that the group helps solving crimes.
    Mai will have observed that subsequent to our report, and doubtlessly because of it, managers of the site have made significant changes.
    As you can see in our story archive of five million words, in its nearly 20 years in publication the locally owned Alice Springs News has been in the forefront of local debate and reporting about law and order issues, without fear or favour, going well beyond the media releases from governments.
    We are also providing a forum for discussion for the entire spectrum of views, right across the community (including Mai). In the last six months we have published more than 1000 comments from readers.]

  3. Well done for pointing out some of the commentary that is going on Erwin. While people see this as a race issue, instead of a community issue, we aren’t going to make Alice a better place to live for everyone. Its not about ‘them’, its about ‘us’. Until we go back to the causes, we’ll be dealing with the effects for a very long time to come. While its great for frustrated people to have a place to vent, using this privilege to target people based on race, not behaviour, won’t achieve anything positive.

  4. This article is just one of many I’ve been reading as I research Alice Springs for possible employment. On the one hand, I see an interesting town with a quirky (Henley-on-Todd, Camel Cup, etc) and independent personality, large enough to provide most of the things I value in terms of quality of life, but small enough to maintain a tightly-woven cloth of community.
    But on the other hand, I’ve seen enough articles to plant seeds of doubt in terms of safety in Alice. Admittedly, it is difficult to separate hysterical hyperbole from actual truth at times, depending on the writer’s point of view, but if affairs are truly in the category of “tinder waiting for a spark”, I find it hard to justify introducing my family to such a volatile situation.
    Insight, anyone?

  5. Hi Lance,
    I have lived and operated my business here for the past 15 years. I met my partner here and we now have a beautiful baby daughter who will grow up here. Alice is a wonderful place to live. I have never felt in danger.
    In Sydney etc there are street gangs, bikie gangs, random shootings, major drug problems, huge traffic congestion etc. We have a few minor issues compared to these and it will take you five minutes to get to work.
    There is always work in Alice, you make great friends very easily and the air is fresh every day! Choose wisely where you wish to live in Alice, that’s all that matters. Alice will look after everything else. Try before you buy is always a tempting slogan so why not pop up for a quick reccy first? Also ring the Town Council 08 89500500 and ask them to send you a copy of the DVD ‘the biggest little town in Australia’. This will give you a tempting insight into our unique town.


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