Youth crime: 'Shameful reality on shoulders of parents, guardians'


Police are providing increased presence in and around the CBD, with a focus on targeting young people on the streets at night and to crackdown on youth crime, says Assistant Commissioner Jamie Chalker.
“It is sad that the youths involved in the activities over the long weekend are now in custody and facing serious criminal charges. This shameful reality falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents and guardians of these kids.
“We have used, and will continue to use, a combination of high profile push bike patrols, foot patrols, plain clothes investigators, a General Purpose Dog and CCTV images to focus on the CBD and actively engage with youth on the streets,” he says.
“We are working closely with our partners at the Department of Children and Families and Tangentyere Youth and Night Patrol to tackle the issue.
“Police have been proactive in identifying young people at risk and using the Supportlink referral system to advise other agencies.”
Strike Force Vega Detectives have charged two 14-year-old males in relation to the aggravated assault and attempted robbery of a 23-year-old woman.
“The woman was riding her bicycle along Leichhardt Terrace around 9:40pm on Monday when she was approached by the youths.
“It is alleged that one youth kicked the bicycle’s front wheel forcing the victim to stop and a second youth took hold of her bag and attempted to steal it while the first youth commenced assaulting her.
“A passing vehicle disturbed the youths and they fled the scene,” says Assistant Commissioner Chalker.
“Detectives from Strike Force Vega arrested the youths yesterday and they were charged with aggravated assault and attempted robbery.” They will appear in Alice Springs Youth Justice Court today.
“Police will continue to arrest and charge young people who have committed offences and violent or intimidating behaviour will not be tolerated.
“The combination of school holidays and the close proximity of public holidays has realised an increased presence of youth in town at night time.
“Families must take responsibility for the reasonable control of their children but particularly during these holiday periods. – Police media release.


  1. This is an excellent initiative, but as stated it is really up to the parents. How do we get them to understand the need for keeping the kids home, to get enough sleep to attend school the next day, having breakfast, doing homework etc.
    If the cooperation between the police and other agencies occurs through Supportlink, what steps can these agencies take to guide the parents in the right direction? What if the right direction is only the direction of our culture, and they don’t understand the need to follow “our” ways? What then? I hope this new approach works. I believe this is what the town has been screaming for, and hopefully will be the turning point.

  2. To Ray (Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm): I don’t think it is at all realistic to think that a revolving group of police, who are not trained to engage with youth, are going to be able to engage nearly as effectively with the young neglected strays who wander the town after dark, compared to the trained professionals of the old Congress Youth Night Patrol and the NT Dept of Children’s Youth Street Outreach Service (YSOS), both of which have been taken off the night streets by the current government. The Tangentyere Youth Patrol has also been gutted by the Giles government, and is not funded to operate into the wee hours like the YSOS did. As for the “parents”, nice sentiment, but you have no idea. Many of these kids have been waiting years for their parents to show up, or sober up, or come down from the cloud, and it’s too late for them now. The police should be able to concentrate on reducing drug dealing and violence, and leave the youth work to the professionals.

  3. It’s my understanding that many of these kids are in State care, which makes the Minister their legal guardian. So, John Elferink, where are you and why aren’t you making sure these kids are at home being good boys and girls? I hope Supportlink is on to you.

  4. Some of the kids Bob, only some. Many of them do have parents at home. As for the wording that I have no idea, not sure if that was meant as an insult or just a generalisation, but as a resident of this town I do actually have “some idea”, and as a parent of kids who are of the same age, I accept responsibility for their well-being, and ensure they are fed, sent to school, and are on bed on time.
    Many indigenous parents in this town do exactly the same as me as well, so it’s not a racial thing, once again it’s about responsibility. Do we keep feeling sorry for them, and making excuses, or start to get real about it?
    Reducing drug use and violence would be a start, but the police also have to ensure we can feel safe where we live, and not have our property damaged and stolen. Some of this could be attributed to drugs and violence, but I really think it’s just a game to them because there are no consequences. Re-read Lord of the Flies.

  5. It defies reason that the trained professional youth workers of the old Congress Youth Night Patrol and the Children’s Youth Street Outreach Service (YSOS) have been taken off the streets, and in their place the police are being asked to step into the breach.
    What the government seems to be ignoring is that the vulnerable young people once reached by professional youth workers might now not find themselves in situations requiring police intervention if the said workers had been allowed to continue doing what they were trained to do.
    We’re hustling backwards on this one. We’re being reactive instead of proactive, and unless we want to increase police training to include extensive youth counselling, then the police are heading for work related stress dramas, the youth in question will not be getting the assistance they apparently need and Alice’s streets will become the sort of no-go area they were a few years ago.
    Budget cuts are often offered as the rational for some of these cuts, but that that excuse is looking, and will look even more so in the future, like short term penny pinching bureaucratic nonsense.
    Let trained youth workers deal with the vulnerable young before police are needed to deal with them as young offenders.
    It’s all well and good to blame families, and while some are clearly slack, others are families in name only. And if we can accept that truth, them surely the Youth Hub makes a more positive, more supportive surrogate than the police lock-up.


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