By ERWIN CHLANDA
“Brazen and cowardly conduct” was how police Commander Southern Command, Craig Laidler, described this morning attacks on old people by youths in Alice Springs, referring to three events this week, in the CBD and in broad daylight.
“The positive is that there has been a swift response by general duties police and Strikeforce Viper and its been a very short time later that we’ve seen persons in custody for these offences,” he said.
Commander Laidler was announcing the December crime statistics, massively increasing in offences against person (19.6%, 30% of those are related to domestic violence and 17% to alcohol). House breakins were up 24% while commercial breakins were down 3%.
Some of that alcohol is coming across state borders travelling “through areas that are very difficult to traverse in vehicles that are not intended to be across that type of terrain” – bush roads, in other words. NT and Queensland police are collaborating on these issues.
Commander Laidler said motor vehicle thefts and related offences were down, showing that car owners are more careful with the their keys.
According to a police report, at 12:10pm yesterday an 87-year-old woman was walking in a shopping centre on Hartley Street when she was allegedly pushed to the ground by a group of girls.
They allegedly stole the woman’s handbag before fleeing the scene on foot towards the post office carpark.
The woman suffered bruising. Police arrested three girls aged 15, 15 and 17.
Police are investigating whether the offenders from this incident are linked to an earlier attempted robbery in a car park on Bath Street, says the police report.
Just after 12pm, a 72-year-old woman was getting into her car when she was approached by two girls who asked for a lift.
The woman attempted to close the door when it is alleged one of the youths tried to get into the vehicle while the other youth reached past the woman and attempted to grab her handbag. The woman left the area without further incident.
Two youths were arrested following relation to a robbery of a 79-year-old man in the Todd Mall on Tuesday morning.
A group of youths approached two men sitting outside a café when it is alleged a 13-year-old girl snatched a packet of tobacco from the table.
The 79-year-old man attempted to stop her by grabbing her arm which resulted in the man being pulled from his chair and onto the ground suffering abrasions to his arms and legs.
It is further alleged the youth scratched the man to the face during the struggle.
A 50-year-old man who attempted to intervene was pushed onto a table by a 14-year-old boy.
The café owner chased the youths away as police identified the offenders, who were arrested shortly after, according to the police.
The pair were both charged with one count of aggravated robbery and have been bailed to appear before court on April 20.
In Tennant Creek offences against the person increased by 32.9%, 40% of these being domestic violence and 55% alcohol related.
But in Tennant Creek home breakins were down 45%, commercial breakins by 43% and theft of motor vehicles down 8.1%.
At Tuesday’s Town Council meeting Cr Jimmy Cocking, who went out with the Tangentyere Night and Youth Patrol recently, which finished at 3am, said over the past couple of days there had been reports of crimes occurring between the hours of 3am and 5am.
The Traditional Owners night patrol currently working with the council is also likely to end around the same time.
During his speech Cr Cocking wondered if more could be done by council to deter crime during this time period: “Whether there are things that can be done. Whether through advocacy to police or whether looking at private security or other ways, particularly in those times when there’s less people out there.”
Says Commander Laidler adults, too, are committing crimes in Alice Springs: “But if it’s youths at that time of the morning then I would suggest that any who are out are at risk and they are the ones we need to look at, why they are out and about, and why they are in a position to undertake that offending. That’s why we have the referral processes.
“What I do say to the community is report absolutely everything to us even if they think it’s something small so we can put all our resources in the right places.”
Should these resources be increased between 3am and 5am?
“At the moment I am satisfied with number of resources that we have during those times but I’ll always take more police.”
PHOTO from our archive.