Crime levels ‘well below’ peaks in mid last decade



Crime in Alice Springs trended down for a number of years leading in 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic and remains well below its peak levels from the middle of last decade.

It has, however, trended up in some areas in past 18 months, including the incidence of assaults and domestic violence, which is of great concern to us. 

Both my Government and NT Police acknowledge the necessary COIVD-19 stimulus money that has flowed in the Territory in the past year has been a factor for increased alcohol abuse and this has directly and indirectly affected crime and youth crime levels in Alice Springs [including] investing in youth crime programs and in remote housing.

In October we launched Strike Force Viper [which has] made more than 400 prosecution files including more than 160 arrests. Trends show Strike Force Viper is working but there is more work to do.

We are working on legislation to give police greater powers to tackle crime. In the next fortnight, we plan to introduce Ringleaders legislation which targets adults and young adults who encourage youth to commit crime.

Bail is not an automatic right, it is a privilege – people who are charged with serious offences absolutely can be locked up, as they should be.

There is no guarantee of bail. There is no presumption of bail. If youth do not meet the test for alternative consequences they are either remanded or face court. That’s why there about 30 youths on remand right now.

While we respect the independence of the courts, we are also constantly monitoring their effectiveness and will make legislative changes where we feel it is necessary in order to break the cycle of crime.

The draft Aboriginal Justice Agreement includes a recommendation to review the Bail Act, as well as other legislation and this is something we are working on.



  1. @ John: I think Gunner is right in saying that crime in Alice Springs trended down for a number of years leading in 2020.
    Anecdotally speaking, almost all victims of crime in the period before 2000 were Aboriginal.
    Alice Springs had a very high murder and assault rate but you could walk around at night time in relative safety.
    What’s changed over the past 20 years and accelerated recently is that crime by Aboriginal offenders has been more targeted at non Aboriginal people and our property.
    It would be interesting to see some data on this.
    There is a stronger feeling among Aboriginal youth these days that they are victims of racism.
    There is real resentment out there in my experience.

  2. They have been banging on for months about ringleaders legislation as a smoke screen for lack of reform on bail conditions. More of the same old rhetoric. But at least he spent 10 minutes addressing us by letter. Next step, Chief, come and face the people in person.

  3. Leadership lowest in a decade.
    How about getting some of these kids in school?
    How about setting them up for a future that isn’t in jail?
    How about showing some leadership for our future?

  4. We have a register to ban heavy drinkers. Why could we not have a register of youth offenders and ban them from the town?

  5. Evelyne Roullet: That is a sensible simple idea, its called thinking outside the square. Sadly the power brokers and the funded ones would not even consider it.

  6. Not sure where CM Gunner is getting his numbers, but they are blatantly false.
    The latest data available (other than snapshots) is the 12 months ending December 2020 figures.
    One would assume that 2020 would have had reduced crime due to COVID shut down which led to markedly improved conditions in Alice Springs.
    Alas, the numbers reveal that despite the three month COVID respite, the town still had worst crime than what occurred under the CLP Government of 2015. (Assuming of course 2015 is considered the middle of the last decade.)
    Per 100,000 population in the very quiet period of COVID 2020 in Alice Springs:–
    Homicide and related offences increased by 5.5%
    Acts intended to cause injury increased 7%.
    Abduction, harassment and other more than doubled!
    Offences against the person up 9%.
    House break ins up 52%.
    Commercial break ins up 14%.
    Total property offences up 21%.
    The ring leaders legislation is surely one of the most absurd and over hyped responses to the surging crime this Government has ever tried to placate the people with. It will make not one iota of a difference.

  7. Watchn: I agree with you and I would like someone to explain how many laws do we have in the NT in regard with the children attending school.
    • It is compulsory to send your child to school: For all or depending of the ethnicity?
    • Your child must attend school from the age of six until they complete Year 10 and turn 17: Why are so many teenagers on the streets during school hours?
    • If your child is sick or unable to attend for other reasons, you must contact your school and let them know why your child is absent???
    • If your child is not regularly attending school, you can be referred to an attendance and truancy officer.
    The attendance and truancy officer will take the following steps:
    You will be issued with a compulsory conference notice. A compulsory conference is a meeting with an attendance and truancy officer to create an attendance plan to help your child attend school regularly.
    This meeting may also include a representative from your child’s school.
    If you do not attend the compulsory conference without a reasonable excuse and your child is still not attending school regularly, you may be issued with a compliance notice.
    If your child continues not to regularly attend school, an infringement notice may be issued.
    You may be prosecuted if your child then continues not to attend school.
    If you live in an area where the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM) operates, your welfare payments can be suspended if your child does not attend school regularly after an attendance plan is agreed.
    Local patrols: Attendance and truancy officers conduct regular patrols in public places or communities during school hours.????
    I am yet to see one in the Mall were kids go amuck on the lawn.
    As part of the patrol, children of compulsory school age are approached and asked why they are not attending school.
    A leave pass or student identification may be sought by the officer to verify the child’s identity.
    Remote school attendance officers: In some remote communities school attendance officers also help to ensure your child goes to school.
    If those rules/laws do not apply to all ethnicities, we are leaving under an apartheid regime. I can hear the voices telling me that apartheid was for Africa only: The word may be (apartheid is an Afrikaans word meaning “separateness”, or “the state of being apart”, literally “apart-hood” (from Afrikaans, -heid”) but the regime of separateness is very much alive in the NT.

  8. No presumption of bail? Really Chief Minister?
    This is the explanatory statement from your Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, from Dale Wakefield.
    This clause inserts a new section 8A “Presumption in favour of bail for youths”, which sets out the presumption in favour of the granting of bail for youths.
    Subsection (1) provides that a youth is entitled to be granted bail, unless the offence they have been charged with a “prescribed offence” as set out in section 3B and regulation 2A (see Clause 3 5 and 17) and they present an ongoing and serious risk to the community.
    This amendment will mean that a youth who is in custody is always entitled to bail unless they are charged with a prescribed offence and there is an ongoing and serious risk to the community.


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