Stop loitering, pass new law if needed


What appears to be a relapse into the out of control street behaviour that was the norm a few years ago has given cause for real concern throughout the community.
The very last thing a community needs is a confidence crushing decline in public safety, just as we are beginning to have faith again in the town’s future. The same can be said for our tourist industry, just beginning to offer a glimmer of hope, numbers slowly increasing and the year out in front looking promising. Backpackers are on the streets again – but many moving about at night, wending their way amongst intimidating loiterers. It wouldn’t take much, just one nasty incident to put us back where we were yesterday.
That it is why it is of the greatest urgency that the resurgence of past behaviour is cracked down on with a very heavy hand. There was always going to be an attempted bounce back! It needs to be met with a sledge hammer.
There is also it appears another element to the resurgence, numbers of youth known to be in “care” at large on our streets again, rather curiously around the same time a campaign against government cutbacks to social welfare organisations began.
It seems just a little bit too much of a coincidence that youth on the street rose at the same moment. This could of course say one of two things, either services cut were absolutely essential to the control of youth in our town and as such should be immediately be reinstated, or it could say that there are some in our social services willing to put our entire community at risk by either allowing or ignoring behaviour from those in their care. Is this done to back up arguments for further funding?
Whatever the reason, the sudden appearance of children in numbers on our streets, children who are supposed to be in care at 3am needs some serious examination.
Some very serious questions need to be asked of those who carry the responsibility for the full time care of these children. The crackdown on the streets must extend to include any carer either deliberately or negligently not carrying out their duties. One way or another, this situation cannot be tolerated!
Further to this, while I agree that there has been a definite jump in activity over the past few weeks, for some time now there has also been a continuing and slowly increasing issue around loitering in the CBD.
I have raised the issue on several occasions with police. I have always been informed that because there is no illegal behaviour taking place nothing could be done about it. I don’t agree.
If there isn’t an enforceable law that can be used to put a stop to the intimidating loitering, then it is time that there was one! Just about anywhere around the world it is not legal to hang about the streets after dark without a  “legitimate” purpose in mind.
Yet every time I come out of council no matter what time of the night I encounter groups of loiterers, often drunk, fighting, loud and abusive, using the parks and building exteriors as a toilet and obviously with no intention of availing themselves of the very few venues open at these hours.
They are loiterers. They should be approached and told to go home, those who don’t comply or without a home to go to, taken into protective custody and put into shelter for the night.
This dangerous lurking with intent behaviour cannot be allowed to continue, let alone increase! The bottle shops are long shut by these hours, so let’s put the bottle shop patrols and mobile stations around the CBD and shut it down to all those without a legitimate reason for being there. The dangers are real and of enormous consequence for our community.
Territory Government, it is your challenge to deal with it! Don’t do a Delia and bury your heads in the sand. You won’t get a chance to live it down, believe me! You are being tested. Rise to the occasion as if the life of your government depends upon it. It does.


  1. Remember Antanas Mockus from Bogata? Better than policing we need some street theatre, some entertainment. All power to Matty Day who is doing his best. The town needs 50 Matty Days then all can loiter, with “purpose”.

  2. Good post Steve. I hope it has the effect that you are asking for. Time after time we see people pleading for the law to be upheld, only to see that nothing changes. Personally I believe it’s all about money … but hey … what do I know?

  3. Is this not just thinly veiled racist profiling? Surely your terms of “loiterers” and youth in “care” are just euphemisms for Aboriginal people? Also, regarding the rest of the world’s loitering laws – pray, share your expertise! Exactly how many other countries have you travelled and researched such convenient laws in? How best to implement them in Alice and cure us of the scourge of Indigenous people so the Aryan race can propagate at last!

  4. Re: CBG Posted April 24, 2014 at 6:15 am
    CBG’s claim common terms “loiterers” and (youth in) “care” are euphemisms for Aboriginal people is classic racist profiling.
    Racist profiling aims TO switch attention, also guilt, from actions of a few to all members of a social group, the purpose to divide and promote conflict, not resolution of difficulties.

  5. The problem is that the loitering laws are way too broad and are to hard to police most of the time.
    People in general, not just youths, can be told to move on by police but if they have a “legitimate” reason like waiting for a taxi they are powerless. Instead we should be concentrating on more important issues like why are there so many youths on the street in the first place but that is a completely different topic.


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