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HomeVolume 29CBD regeneration: Don't mention crime

CBD regeneration: Don’t mention crime


Public safety was mentioned frequently during the public consultation about “regenerating” the Alice Springs town centre but the resulting report provides little of value.

In the Town Council’s latest Mall initiative the final presentation, now up for public comment, does not contain the words CPTED, vandalism, anti-social nor crime.

CPTED stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, a world-wide “multi-disciplinary approach of crime prevention that uses urban and architectural design and the management of built and natural environments”. 

That clearly infers that CPTED involves initiatives and the creation of assets that can be identified, described and that obviously have a cost.

However that cost is not separated from the project’s total of $20m, which makes it difficult for the public to comment and offer any observations on the town’s most serious problem, entrenched vandalism and crime, despite being invited to do so.

Mayor Matt Paterson, when asked to comment, said CPTED has been taken into account in the planning: “Increased lighting has been put forward. This is on top of funding from the Federal Government for CCTV.”

Mayor Paterson named natural surveillance, access control and management of  reinforcement of safe spaces as objectives for CPTED but said it is not possible to define the respective costs: “It’s a part of every project you do. They don’t have a specific cost, it’s part of every project.”

And: “The Northern Territory Government are the appropriate organisation to talk about strategies to address anti-social behaviour, not local government.”

An analysis of the extent and cost of the problems, and of counter measures used elsewhere, has clearly not been part of the consultation brief for the Adelaide-based consultants, Jensen PLUS.

Questions remain: Is this multi-million dollar Mall project again a waste of money, and who will be responsible?

There is almost no explanation of the reasons for the options raised by the consultants in the final presentation. 

The Alice Springs News has reported about CPTED for more than 10 years (see Related Reading at the bottom of this page), and about the Mall and CBD for all of the newspaper’s 30 years in publication.

The summary of the consultation last year leaves many questions to be answered.

Between the councillors, the council employees and the Jensen staff, opinion surveys could have been produced about at least some issues: How many people are for or against car traffic in the Mall? Or want a multi-level carpark in the heart of the town?

For example, under the heading of Plenty of big ideas for Todd Mall! the summary of the contribution from more than 300 people was: “Early listening online, meetings & phone conversations … strongly reinforced key themes … safety and security first … a place I want to go and feel safe … no road through the mall … todd mall the heart of the town … desire for inviting design for all!”

For address visual blight of empty properties in interim to business precinct strategy an example is given through before & after photographs (at top and below).

That means there is still no business precinct strategy which makes the current public comment opportunity largely futile.

Mayor Paterson says so far no detailed designs have been done.

Respondents are quoted: “More activity & events – with people all around a place families, tourists, locals, out of towners for family and friends!”

Hartley Street Car Park area features nine dot points including “I like the Exoloo” and two each about shade and security. But we get no for-or-against numbers about “Multi-level car park” which is shaping up as a major controversy.

Children want / like is a useful summary.

Alice is unlike anywhere else tells us: “Todd Mall is the heart of a town. It has grassed sitting area / community space in the middle. Todd Mall is a shopping, dining, community and meeting place. Alice is multicultural and should embrace this. Cooling is key! Labor and maintenance considerations for detail design. Overall: Positive, collaborate and respectful.”

This is the material, the council says, from which the report, now up for public comment, is constructed.

The elephant in the room clearly is Social issues need HIGH LEVEL attention. They certainly are not getting it.

The views of government, police, Town Council, tourism lobby, Aboriginal organisations on the acute anti social behaviour would have been useful in a paper purporting to be a consultation.

The report deals with benchmarking and shade shelters in Nicholas Street Precinct, Ipswich, in Maude Street Mall, Shepparton and a shared street with dedicated signage for cycling in an unnamed town.

But no examples are given how youth crime is dealt with in other places in Australia or overseas.

Related reading on CPTED. Google for Mall and CBD.

17 Feb 2011
17 Apr 2018
26 Mar 2019
25 Nov 2022
26 Nov 2022
5 Jul 2022
UPDATE 4.30pm
Mayor Paterson provided the following statement: Concept designs for all council projects consider CPTED principles and the Regenerating the Alice Town Centre project is no different.
This is now considered standard practice across the architecture and engineering industry.
Each concept for the Regenerating the Alice Town Centre project features CPTED principles, such as surveillance, limiting vulnerable spaces and space management.


  1. The CPTED indeed! Acronyms! An inexhaustible source of wonderment and inspiration!
    In 2013 we had NTEIPP, the NT Police Early Intervention Pilot Program which aimed at delivering NT Police Early Intervention workshops to local police officers and service providers about engaging with Territory youth around binge drinking and volatile substance use.

  2. Mayor Matt Paterson says that “The Northern Territory Government are the appropriate organisation to talk about strategies to address anti-social behaviour, not local government.”
    Is this a policy shift?
    Not so long ago the Town Council provided 10 jobs and funding of $230,000 for the Traditional Owners foot patrol.
    What were the outcomes?
    Public Safety is a huge concern and unless adequately addressed the CBD regeneration project will be a waste of money.
    Presumably, the Town Council has worked closely with the tier of government they believe is responsible for anti-social behaviour which is often criminal?


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