Massive increase in crime


p2327-crime-statsBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Crime in Alice Springs has increased massively in the year ending February 2016, with sexual assault up 44% compared to the preceding year.
This is based on high figures – an increase from 55 to 79 sexual assaults – which makes a big statistical error unlikely.
Domestic violence numbers rose from 860 to 1048, an increase of 22%.
The crime statistics are prepared by the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice using data recorded by the Northern Territory Police.
Only commercial break-ins are down, 6%, possibly because many businesses have closed their doors.
Crime against the person rose 22% and against property, 8%.
The offence data were extracted from the NT Police PROMIS system on April one and released this week.
We are seeking comment from Chief Minister Adam Giles and Opposition Leader Michael Gunner.
UPDATE May 16: Statement from the NT Government.
A government spokesman provided this statement today: “The figures spiked considerably late in 2015 and have been trending down since.  Any level of offending is too high, but police are encouraged by victims reporting all forms of assaults, be they domestic, family or sexual assaults in the comfort that they will be supported when they do speak out.
“The long-term trend in Alice Springs has been and continues to be very positive from a community safety perspective.
“The March statistics are due to be released on Friday and they’re expected to show that crime in Alice Springs is lower across most data categories than it was in August 2012 when the Country Liberals came into Government.
“Police advise that property crime continues to be largely opportunistic in nature, with premises left insecure with unlocked doors and windows.
“The theft of alcohol by adults is a trend identified given the restrictions in place with point-of-sale intervention and police are working with licensing authorities and commercial premises owners to address this trend.”


  1. Not surprised, due to the removal of so many programs for the disadvantaged. Adam Giles and the his party should be ashamed of themselves. Not that they care.

  2. Should we be surprised! Targeting visual crime is superficial and cannot address the roots of the cause.
    We shall no doubt wait in vain for a response from the Chief Minister.

  3. @ Greg you’re right – Giles and his party did play a part in it but it goes right back to the “Intervention” as well.
    Intervention with NT Government tacking on with their “Emergency Response” proved nothing, other than to turn the clock back 30 years if not more and in the process.
    It disempowered whole Aboriginal communities such that its people have become wandering and aimless, drifting into towns.
    We are now seeing that. The blame should lie at the feet of governments for their constant meddling with Aboriginal affairs.
    The biggest disruption is the removal of CDEP that at least provided some stability and employment to Aboriginal communities since the early 70s, only to be replaced by some inconsistent, overly reworked, out of touch rubbish, determined by Canberra bureaucracy empowered by interventionist policies.
    It will be difficult to get back on track if ever, because we are burdened with ineffective politicians and those rusted on well past their use by date, to truly work with their constituents for better policies and program outcomes.
    The thing that remains ever constant in Aboriginal affairs is the shifting of goal posts.

  4. You can’t be serious Greg. You blame the removal of programs? Do you really believe these offenders are likely to participate in some program to stop them being bored?
    It cannot be blamed on government or council. The blame lies squarely at the feet of those offending.
    Are you saying that if we build a roller skating rink, people will prefer that to sexually assaulting somebody?
    There was a string of car windows being smashed in various areas of town last night.
    What program would have been running at the time these attacks occurred to prevent it happening?
    The offenders mentioned here do not attend structured, organised social activities.
    Their buzz is achieved by being anti-social. Stop shifting the blame to the government of the day, blame the offenders.

  5. Maybe it is time to bring back tribal punishment or guillotine as well as make those offenders pay for their time in goal.

  6. I would have to say the problem is the children’s parents. They need to be more responsible.
    As a parent you need to guide your children and teach them right from wrong.
    You see a lot in the streets, intoxicated It is nothing to be proud of.
    As they say and keep harping on about their “culture”, it’s about time they start putting their culture into, action.
    Look after your children, encourage them to get a job, so that boredom does not set in.
    Stop blaming everybody else and take on your own responsibility.
    I ask, what have Warren Snowdon and Nigel Scullion done all about this?

  7. Maybe part of the problem lies with our parents / grandparents. Can anyone remember when violence against Aboriginal people was government policy?
    Remember the massacres, remember the people being forced from their homelands, remember people working a slave laborers for rations to build white wealth?
    Remember the stolen generations, remember it was OK to use a indigenous women but illegal to live them marry them or bring up your children together?
    Lest we forget, the historical context of current issues. Lest we forget that the mainstream community is still enjoying the spoils of past injustices. The future is built on the past and in the present we need to look in both directions.

  8. This surge in offending comes at a time when:
    • The NT has the nation’s highest incarceration rate for Aboriginal people.
    • 7 out of 10 have offended before.
    • Our jail is overflowing.
    • The town’s bottle shops are staked out by police at large expense.
    Sentenced to a Job has put the public at risk for what benefit?
    Prison rehabilitation programs appear to be an expensive waste of time?
    Prison is not a deterrent?
    Establishing more than 20 new police stations on remote communities has disempowered local systems of justice but not effectively replaced them?

  9. @ Fred: Yes, without parental responsibility and leadership from elders, nothing is going to change.
    But those parents are not going to abandon reliance on welfare an royalties unless they are also employed in real jobs.
    With the changes to welfare last year, the Federal Government adopted a seemingly get tough approach, where those who knocked back a genuine job would have their benefits cut off for eight weeks.
    As Erwin pointed out last week, there are plenty of jobs at Yulara, yet no one from Mutitjulu seems interested in them. Have any of those people been cut off?
    Landline yesterday did a piece on Desert Springs Farm near Ali Curung, staffed by backpackers while the local population km away sits on welfare.
    The farm sits on their own land trust.
    Signs went up all over Tennant at the start of term two telling people attendance officers were going to start issuing on the spot fines of more than $300 to the parents of children found roaming the streets in school time.
    Nobody seems to want to tell us how many of those fines have been issued but you could be excused for guessing it hasn’t been many.

  10. @ Hmmmmm
    Prime Minister (Hon Kevin Rudd MP): Mr Speaker, I move:
    That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
    We reflect on their past mistreatment.
    We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
    The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future …
    We must acknowledge the past, but not blame it for everything.
    When we make excuses or try to blame other people or external factors for the eventual outcome of something, not only are we failing to take responsibility, but we are demonstrating a character trait which is very common in people who fail to succeed in anything.
    A vast majority of Alice Springs residents could misbehave blaming their grand-parents and parents.
    They have being poorly educated in an archaic system dating of the Greek’s civilisation and badly nourished (I base my comments on the facts that our days every system of the past has been changed).
    They have been smacked by their parents, sent to bed without deserts; hit on the fingers by the head masters; and let’s not forget raised by mentally disturbed grandpas and daddies suffering of PTSD because they went to wars, prisoners camps even concentration camps for some.
    In shouldering responsibility ourselves, we are giving ourselves the power to shape the outcome ourselves and are therefore taking an active and not a passive role in how the outcome turns out.
    Fred the Philistine before blaming the parent, try to remember when parents were in charge, and not the rules of social services.
    I remember too well when a social worker knocked on my door to tell me that I was too strict with my teenagers: I did not let them out week nights and they had a curfew of 11pm.

  11. I’m over this mantra that until Aboriginal people get “real jobs” nothing will change.
    This is the current Sentenced to a Job rubbish.
    There are many law binding citizens, including the majority of Aboriginal people who do not have a job.
    The job mantra is defeatist.
    For a start there are not enough jobs on communities and there never will be.
    All people can live productive and fulfilled lived without employment and with housing supplied to them by government Aboriginal people have a head start.
    Let’s take the job mantra out of the equation and assist Aboriginal people to stay out of prison in the real context of their lives.
    Real life context rather than wishful thinking would also be helpful in rehabilitation programs

  12. Here’s some other statements from NT Government about the issue:
    CRIME in Alice Springs is at the lowest level for at least six years, according to NT Government statistics.
    NT Police Assistant (now Deputy) Commissioner Jamie Chalker credited temporary beat locations and increased referrals to welfare agencies for the success. – NT News, May 18, 2015.
    Chief Minister Adam Giles said the current situation (at Alice Springs) would not be tolerated.
    “I’m giving the parents of the children responsible for this spate of violence a very clear message: Get your kids off the streets, get them back to communities and back into school,” he said.
    “Otherwise, these children will be regarded as requiring protection and we will take immediate action. Parents should not doubt our resolve to do this.” – ABC News, 16 April, 2015.
    “(New NT Police Commissioner Reece) Kershaw said he would focus on reducing anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug related crime – particularly ice – as well as domestic and family violence, protecting remote communities and reducing youth crime.
    Kershaw also flagged a closer dialogue with community groups in places such as Alice Springs, where youth crime and antisocial behaviour is a growing problem. Community groups and NGOs have at least partly blamed the worsening issue on the withdrawal of government funding for diversionary youth services.
    “We believe we can do better. We can lead joint task force Neo [which] will be front and centre in relation to leading an integrated response coalescing all of our youth resources into one,” said Kershaw.
    “We can probably deliver a better result by engaging with those NGOs at a deeper level.” – The Guardian Australia, April 14, 2015.
    Chief Minister Adam Giles has defended the government’s move to close the Youth Hub, saying Alice Springs is “completely cleaned up”.
    Chief Minister Adam Giles says Alice Springs has completely changed since the CLP came into power and youth crime is not the issue it used to be.
    “Property crime is as low as it ever has been … we’ve got our mandatory alcohol treatment facilities, the town’s completely cleaned up,” he said.
    “There’s always an element of crime but compared to what it used to be … the town has completely changed.” – ABC News, 31 January, 2014.

  13. “The March statistics are due to be released on Friday and they’re expected to show that crime in Alice Springs is lower across most data categories than it was in August 2012 when the Country Liberals came into Government.”
    In 2012-13, the offender rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 799 offenders per 10,000.
    At 30 June 2015 the rate was 885 per 10,000.
    The PROMIS data quoted above show a significant increase on 2015.
    Looking forward to the March data.

  14. @ Evelyn: You have put a smile on my dial when you said you want to drag out the guillotine. These people have done a lot of silly things, but there is good in everyone.
    The problem with the increase in crime at this time of year, is that jail looks good.
    It is warm, you are fed, some of your friends are in there and you get clothed.
    At this time of year, if you have no roof over your head. Jail looks pretty good.

  15. Yes, Fred: It is warm, you are fed, some of your friends are in there and you get clothed.
    At this time of year, if you have no roof over your head, jail looks pretty good.
    That is why I also said that they should pay for their keep especially if it is not the first time in goal: “Pay-to-stay” programs.

  16. Evelyne Roullet: Yes, ex prisoners turn up at the prison gates mid winter demanding admission because they are hungry and cold.
    They also humbug Corrections in town, and threaten to damage property to gain entry to jail.
    Some walk out of Corrections after being rejected and immediately smash something and wait for the police to arrive.
    Prisoners have sneaked out of the low security unit and then returned.
    Work parties and Sentenced to a Job programs pose a high risk of temporary AWOL.
    Sentenced to a Job participants won’t go on to stay in employment after release because they will have lost the support of the prison, warm bed, clean clothes, regular meals, entertainment including action movies, footy, free medical and dental, companionship with relatives etc.

  17. Peter, I did not imply work programs but to install a system like in the US: Florida law allows the state to charge inmates $50 a day to cover the costs of their incarceration. According to a spokesman at the Florida Department of Corrections, every person who is convicted in the state immediately begins accruing the $50 a day “cost of incarceration lien.” And this doesn’t just happen in Florida.
    A recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law found that these types of fees, where inmates can be charged for room and board, have been authorized in at least 43 states.
    In 2014, for example, an appellate court in Illinois ruled that a Chicago inmate named Johnnie Melton would have to pay nearly $20,000 to the Illinois Department of Corrections for the cost of his incarceration.

  18. Many prisoners refuse to apply for parole.
    They prefer to spend as long as they can in the care of the prison at taxpayers expense of $100,000 per prisoner per year.

  19. What a great idea Evelyn. But considering that many of those in our prisons are from the most impoverished sectors of our community and some of them are there because of an inability to pay fines I guess the prisons will just burst at the seems with people unable to pay for their keep.

  20. The problem is that all the pressure is for culturally sensitive prisons.
    So the prison offers sorry business, and there are Aboriginal ceremonies.
    The training is enjoyable, have fun playing on computers, music is making your own record, art is painting pictures you can sell and keep most of the money.
    No need to pay for canvas or paints and the prison will even sell the art for you.
    Prisoners are paid wages while in custody and they can earn a lot more through Sentenced to a Job.
    On release they can have substantial savings, that alone ensures they will get back on the grog.


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