Large number of cars vandalised at Araluen


p2526 Araluen auditorium 430By ERWIN CHLANDA
The screening of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Araluen last night was interrupted to inform the crowd that a large number of vehicles in the car park had been damaged.
Right: Auditorium, archival photo from Araluen Cultural Precinct site.
Araluen has declined to comment, but a movie goer says the cars had been “smashed” with what appeared to have been a heavy instrument.
She says a graffiti saying “Crips Bloods suck” had been spray painted in pink on one vehicle, a reference believed to be to a gang.
Car windows were smashed.
“We were in shock,” said the movie goer. “It was blatant vandalism.”
Police say they have arrested seven youths in relation to a number of incidents in Alice Springs overnight.
Two boys, aged 13 and 14, were arrested by an off-duty police officer after the officer witnessed one of them as the driver stall a vehicle at the intersection of Wills Terrace and Sturt Terrace around 9:30pm last night.
The pair were transported to the Alice Springs Watch House.
A further five youths, one male and four females aged between 11 and 15, were arrested by officers conducting proactive patrols along Larapinta Drive.
They are assisting police with their enquiries. One has since been released from police custody for consideration of youth diversion, police say.
The officers arrested the youth after witnessing one of them allegedly smashing a car window.
At this time, a total of 38 vehicles have been reported as sustaining criminal damage while parked at the car park on Larapinta Drive, says the police media release.
UPDATE 1.24pm
Police have released the following statement:
Officers from Operation Dawson have arrested five youth after a number of vehicles were damaged while parked in a Larapinta carpark last night.
The officers were conducting a proactive patrol of the area when one of them observed a male attempting to smash a car window just before 7pm.
On pulling into the carpark, police noted a group attempting to run from the area. After a short foot chase, five were apprehended and taken back to the watchhouse.
Two girls, aged 11 and 13-years-old have been released pending further enquiries, and three youths aged 12, 12 and 14 are assisting police with investigation.
Enquiries are being made as to whether there were any other co-offenders involved in this incident.
At this stage 38 vehicles received damaged with windows smashed or panels spray painted.
Investigations continue.
UPDATE MAY 19 at 4.47pm
Police released the following details: Officers from Operation Dawson have made another arrest in relation to the criminal damage of multiple vehicles in Alice Springs last week.
Charges have been laid against a 15-year-old female who is alleged to have caused damage to vehicles parked in a carpark on Larapinta Drive on Thursday night.
The youth has not made any application for bail and will appear in custody before the Alice Springs Local Youth Court on Monday, May 21 charged with one count of criminal damage covering 39 vehicles, one count of Trespass upon 11 vehicles and one count of Stealing from five vehicles.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Leith Phillips said police urge anyone whose vehicle was damaged in the event on Thursday night to contact them if they haven’t already.
“We are aware there may have been patrons who left before speaking with Police in regards to this incident,” he said.
“Officers from Operation Dawson will continue to investigate this incident and identify and locate further offenders.”
UPDATE MAY 21 at 8.14am
A police media release says officers from operation Dawson have arrested another youth.
The 14-year-old male and others are alleged to have damaged 39 vehicles on Larapinta Drive on Thursday, 18 May.
The youth is expected to be charged this afternoon with criminal damage, trespass and stealing and he will appear in the local court. Police will be opposing bail.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Leith Phillips said police are still asking for potential victims and witnesses who have not notified police to come forward.
“This is the seventh youth we have arrested in relation to this incident since Thursday however we are continuing with our efforts to locate any outstanding offenders.
“We would like to thank members of the public for their continued assistance,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to notify police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


  1. Until the culprits have to work to pay for the damages nothing will change.
    I did not say the parents, the kids who have absolutely no understanding of the value of things including the clothes on their back.
    “Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.”

  2. Agree Evelyne, but parents don’t care. I just hope the court system is strict enough to not let them off with a slap on their little wrists.

  3. Today, throughout the world, around 218 million children work, many full-time.
    They do not go to school and have little or no time to play.
    Many do not receive proper nutrition or care.
    They are denied the chance to be children.
    More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.
    The 10 places where child labor is most prevalent are Eritrea, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Yemen.
    May be a trip to one of those countries could open the eyes of our little pampered kids here.
    I am ready to sponsor one child if such a trip gets organised.

  4. It’s a joke. There won’t be any video footage and none of them will be dobbing in their mate so the chances of anyone getting punished for the vandalism is very remote.
    It’s sad all the locals just sit back and think “Just another day in Alice”.
    Bad luck for Araluen too, as I’m sure the next time anything is on most people will be saying no thanks, much like going to the Cinema after dark.
    This town is dying and the people in charge should be held accountable for not doing enough, and I don’t mean the Police – those mob do a great job (with their hands tied).

  5. Is the Alice a very sad place now, or am I just imagining it?
    So many locals and former locals of the Baby Boomer generation have been saying to me that these are the most depressing and awful of times compared with the Alice of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
    It seems to me that racial issues now take second place to the sheer lawlessness of Alice youth out of control.
    The relevant authorities, both black and white, appear unable to stem the overwhelming tide of youthful social anarchy, let alone define and isolate the real reasons, far less coming up with any answers.
    Where to now, Alicians?

  6. I had my car smashed at Araluen last night – which was frustrating – but in the broader picture, I believe incidents like this one are a symptom of an unwell, unbalanced community.
    Vandalism like this is symptomatic of a deeper problem. The knee jerk reaction is to get angry at the kids, blame the parents, or just rant on the community forum – but I think getting angry at these kids will be about as useful as yelling at someone for having the flu, and about as effective a cure.
    I believe this sort of vandalism happens when kids feel disconnected from their community.
    I do agree that these kids need to be disciplined – but in equal measure there needs to be efforts made to re-connect these kids to the Alice Springs community – otherwise it’s a band-aid approach that does nothing to fix the root cause of incidents like this one, which is the typical ambulance at the bottom of the cliff scenario.
    In 2014 the Alice Springs Youth Hub was defunded by the Giles government who stated that “property crime is as low as it ever has been … the town’s completely cleaned up.
    “There’s always an element of crime but compared to what it used to be … the town has completely changed.”
    In my opinion incidents like last night are a direct result of short-sighted thinking such as the decision to defund the Youth Hub. Four years later we’re reaping the fruit of funding cuts to youth services and everyone’s looking around for someone to blame.
    A long view approach must be taken to support youth services so that programs like the Youth Bus and the Youth Hub can secure stable connections with kids in town like those who were responsible for the vandalism at Araluen last night.
    Connecting these kids back into the community, and showing them there is a place for them in Alice Springs where they are welcome, will go a long way to fix these issues. Heaping endless vitriol on these kids and continuing the divisive us/them politics of the situation just drives the parties further apart.
    There is already a huge social and economic divide in Alice Springs, which could be argued is clearly represented by the people inside and outside the cinema at last night’s event.
    As frustrating as a broken window, and some spray paint can be, I don’t think any of the victims of the vandalism would be rushing to swap lives with the kids who went on the smashing spree.
    I feel sorry for these kids.

  7. @ John: You reap what you sow. Here we go again. Yawn. Youth Diversion. Code for doing nothing to change behaviours. Youth diversion and generous reward programs have been the go-to get out of jail card. Its been working well so far eh? These kids are laughing at us and showing contempt. In fact their behaviour is entirely predictable. A little Singapore justice is needed for these precious kids. Maybe for their (in name) carers too.
    If we cannot get serious about youth crime then the town needs a return of Advance Alice but preferably with a significant indigenous component to avoid the easy labelling of the group as a white vigilante group.
    Last night the police got lucky and intercepted these youth before the 39 cars were instead 200 cars. They are to be thanked. But they face an impossible job really and clearly need more eyes and ears.
    Oh Evelyne, sponsor a child to Africa I hear! That would be child abuse!

  8. As an ex-resident of Alice I am shocked as how the town has disintegrated to this level.
    We left Alice in 2005 as it was starting to get bad then. We were going to revisit but NO THANKS, not now even for only a short stay.
    We did contemplate a permanent return but this is not going to happen for sure.
    What a pity that the 20 years we were there were great but this needs to be stopped as not only are more residents going to vacate but the grey tourists will also start to go elsewhere.
    Very sad for a wonderful town.

  9. John: Where to now, Alicians?
    Into the abyss until the politicians become responsible for their portfolio and their performance: No results, no salary!
    They have to stop patting themselves on the back, try to brainwash us with their grand-new ideas.
    ACER’s Progressive Achievement approach is used in thousands of schools in Australia and around the world. Let’s do the same with our leaders without waiting for the next election.

  10. For such a big event to occur you would think the Government would have come out and made a statement… no just crickets…chirp chirp…

  11. Bet you this would not occur in a small country town with a old school Sergeant.
    A good old fashioned kick up the arse is all that is needed.
    But the do-gooders now do not want Police to discipline children who have not been disciplined in their upbringing by parents.
    Back in my day the local sergeant would have flogged these kids until they were scared to commit another act of violence again. Bring back old times and do-gooders look the other way for the benefit of the children.
    Alice Springs community has to be protected by people who terrorize the honest hard working citizens. Bring back child disciplining by Police.

  12. @Josh Davis. Josh. You are being a tad unfair, quite harsh, in fact, on 99.9% of people who have been expressing serious concerns about escalating property and increasingly violent youth behaviour.
    No fairminded person has been “heaping endless vitriol” on these kids. They are simply distressed and fearful of what may well happen in the very near future if this massively destructive behaviour does not stop, no matter what the root cause is.
    There has to be a balance between opportunities to rehabilitate/reconnect and getting these kids to take responsibility for their own actions.
    They have to be taught, if they do not know already, that the consequences of their anarchic behaviour cause serious hurt and deep stress to victims and their families. Invariably.
    In many cases the nameless victims they target suffer far more than the kids who are doing the damage.
    Taking personal responsibility and growing up to be good citizens knows no cultural boundaries. All cultures must apply the same standards to be met by their youth.
    If these kids can simply be taken back to talk to the victims they have hurt, every time, I believe the light will eventually switch on for all except the smallest minority in every culture who may never wish to change or give a toss.
    It would also be comfort for the victims and conducive to better understanding and better relations between the feared and the fearful.

  13. Where are the Arrernte grannies? These are Arrernte kids from Charles Creek and Larapinta camps.

  14. These kids are out at night because they don’t want to be home. Home is not safe. These kids are faced with challenges on a daily bases beyond their capacity to cope. Loss and trauma ignites revenge. These kids are hormonal, confused and angry! This is the only way these kids know how to say “help us”! It starts at home. If we really cared about these children we would make Alice a no grog zone. For the sake of future generations this town needs to become dry! It’s a no brainer. These kids need safety and stability and for as long as alcohol is around, they won’t have this. We are kidding ourselves! Grog takeaway outlets must go! Politicians, community leaders and the people of Alice Springs need turn to global leaders for advice and attempt selfless approaches to these issues. It’s not about looking good anymore, it’s not about the money or power, it’s about selflessly saving lives.
    If we really cared about the social issues in Alice Springs, we would question our personal value and belief systems and forsake our dependence and romance with alcohol for the wellbeing of others. The millions spent preventing violence can be reinvested into rehab and education programs. Get rid of the root cause and I guarantee we will see change! I’m an 80’s Alice baby and envision the town being a safe, healthy, united place as it was when I grew up. After all, facts are facts… Alcohol is a drug which makes people very ill. Bandaids don’t heal deep wounds!

  15. We arrived in Alice 1974. Then you could leave things open and Aboriginals in town showed respect. It’s sad that Alice has become full of so much hatred between children and authority. We left Alice after 40 years and found Barmera. Beautiful place in SA.

  16. Agreed, the kids lack all direction.
    Agreed, their parents are, as parents, useless.
    But I hold Araluen management responsible for this latest outrage. What could they have been thinking, to schedule an event after dark in Alice as it now is, not as we might imagine it once was or someday could be, and not provide security for their guests?
    This is now the cost of doing business in Alice Springs. Perhaps the new Araluen manager might want to forego the lure of a second hat to concentrate on his day job.

  17. @ Hannah Millerick, Posted May 19, 2018 at 9:15 am
    “These kids are out at night because they don’t want to be home. Home is not safe.”
    Not totally true, as I remember very well when I had to put arc mesh on my son’s window to stop him going out when I was sleeping.I can tell you our home was safe.
    Like Scotty I think often about the good old school Sergeant. Not only he gave my son a kick up the arse, but locked him up for the night and took him to visit Giles House to show him what will happen if he does not change his behavior. No court, no publicity, and I did not complain but said THANK YOU.

  18. You are correct Evelyne. No one will take responsibility.
    Most people growing up need imposed discipline before leaning self discipline. But there is little of the former with endless excuses made and programs on offer.
    The same tired methods will produce the same outcomes.
    Hello! Everyone’s a victim now! The social fabric will only allow this to go on for so long. Already I sense that it’s gone way too far for many of us.

  19. @ Mark Wilson, Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    … with endless excuses made and programs on offer.
    The same tired methods will produce the same outcomes.
    All methods? Not yet. Why not community service as punishment? Cleaning parks,streets, town camps, clearing buffel grass which after all is growing on their land.

  20. Take the parents’ money out of the sit down royalties payments till it’s payed off, not at 29 bucks a month. Two thirds of their payments. Then they might have time to teach their children right from wrong. So over this. It’s is getting worse in our town. All we get is poor bugger me!

  21. I left Alice Springs 35 years a go because of this sort of vandalism , not only did we have civil disorder but nasty crimes against young teen girls, namely rape.
    The town was a mess, the Todd, near our home, was a mess, my wife had our first born and I was sick of the abuse.
    The police were powerless and we were told to keep a low profile. I did just that, sold up and took to the South Road.
    A fantastic town ruined. I’ve been back a few times, but nothing has change.


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