Cr Glen Auricht is “fearful that these children are going to be injured by angry people”, that “these kids would be killed”. Cooler heads on council want to act on a resolution of 2017, and meanwhile CCTV proliferates (photo) and the problems remain. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The Gunner Government has not only been a financial disaster for the NT, their soft on crime approach has seen our safety in Alice Springs being compromised like never before, writes Robyn Lambley MLA (pictured), Independent Member for Araluen.
A reliable source says they smashed windows, damaged cars and in one office, set light to files. Aged eight to 10, they will not be prosecuted, say police, who are working with the children's families. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
PHOTO: We chatted with this group of youngsters yesterday and they were happy for us to take this picture. It was a nice Saturday morning in the Mall, and they were hanging out together, having fun. One boy, clearly suspecting that people would think they are up to no good, said: "Are you going to give this photo to the police?" Another said he would look up the story at school on Monday and took the Alice Springs News Online website address. A third boy, when asked where he is from, replied: "Alice Springs. I own it." One boy said, with a big laugh: "My name is Damien Ryan." We've obscured their smiling faces because there was no opportunity of getting formal permission. We're sorry about that, and will be happy to provide the un-redacted picture to the boys.
Down here on the ground in Alice Springs, black children, driven to crime by hunger and fear, are fast becoming enemy number one, or victim number one, depending on who you're talking to.
There's not much public knowledge about just who these kids are, nor how many of them there are.
We have a land, sea, men's, women's and all manner of other councils, but do these kids have a voice?
Here's a look at a couple of current initiatives: are they going to make a difference?
The drunks "send in the kids. For the kids it’s excitement,” a burgled restaurant owner explained during the recent town council election campaign, dominated by law and order issues. The loot was a few bottles of spirits. The cost of smashed property was in the thousands.
"We’ve had $1800 worth of damage done here and all they took was bread and cheese," said a candidate seeking re-election.
Meanwhile up there in the stratosphere, the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) are making submission to the Attorney-General’s Department Public Consultation on the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), while Canberra will be spending $1.5b, from mid next year, on a new Remote Jobs and Communities Program. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The summer of crime is hitting businesses and residents already, and it’s only the first week of October, says Member for Braitling Adam Giles (pictured).
But police say Operation Thresher, a special initiative now in its second week and targeting anti-social behaviour and property crime over the school holidays, involves 32 police officers "dedicated to high profile and covert patrols of known hot spots in the town".
Says Mr Giles: “Last night there were three break-ins of Alice Springs businesses, and during the day two homes were also ransacked.
“Knowing one family who were the victims of a break in this week, I share their frustration and outrage about a decline in public order and personal responsibility that has swept Alice Springs due to the ineffective policies of the Henderson Labor Government.
“Relying on the police to mop up after the crimes have happened is not an acceptable response.
“Cleaning up and patching up seem to be the norm, yet what is needed is attacking the problems at the source and that starts with dealing strongly with the kids that are creating this chaos.
“Do parents not know where their kids are late at night – or do they just not care?"
Police say Operation Thresher "involves members from the Property Crime Reduction Unit, General Duties, Intelligence Unit, Dog Operations Unit,
Mounted Unit and forensics crews.
“We are also liaising with other Government and non-Government agencies that engage with youth to ensure young people are monitored and provided with support services if required."
In the 2011 March quarter Alice Springs again had more assaults and break-ins than Darwin, which has three times the population, and over six years the town has had twice as many murders.
The latest NT Department of Justice statistics released for the March quarter for 2011 show offences in Alice Springs against the person (464) were down on the March quarter of 2010 (485) but still higher than in the March quarter of 2009 (420). PHOTO: A CCTV camera overlooks the Mall. KIERAN FINNANE reports.