The website of the German Foreign Office singles out Alice Springs as Australia's only location mentioned in the chapter dealing with crime (Kriminalitaet) in its general travel advice (Allgemeine Reiseinformationen). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
At recent meetings in Alice Springs, the NT Police Commissioner met with NT government departments, but not with Federal departments or non-government, community-based organisations.
The key Federal departments that he failed to involve are those controlling Centrelink and the new Remote Jobs and Community Programs (RJCP) which replaces CDEP from July, 2013.
These departments are critical to solving alcohol-related, anti-social behavior, by re-evaluating welfare entitlement and creating employment opportunities. RUSSELL GUY comments.
Meanwhile, Federal Member Warren Snowdon (pictured at left) has not responded to a request for an interview with the Alice Springs News Online, exploring to what extent a multi billion dollar program for indigenous people in the Territory will be fostering self-help.
PHOTO AT TOP: Aboriginal dingo trapper in the 1960s. Was he self-taught or had he participated in the kind of program Mr Snowdon has announced? "$19.1 million to create 50 extra Aboriginal Working on Country ranger positions in remote Northern Territory communities over the next four years."
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 Facebook site Assist your local Alice Springs Police is "not about presenting racist remarks. It is about reducing the harm associated with crime and anti-social behaviour".
This appeal comes from Police Senior Sergeant Michael Potts (picture from Facebook) who earlier this week was listed on the site as its administrator.
Sgt Potts said in a posting yesterday, apparently referring to the Alice Springs News Online report, posted on Tuesday: "Due to a recent news article and some posts / comments that have been written I wish to clear up some issues.
"Firstly I am not an Administrator for this site although I have asked to be put back as one to enable me to make this post.
"The Administration of this group is now in the hands of the community and has been this way for about a week.
"It is clear that some people are using this forum for their own agenda and not for the aims that the group was developed for." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
It seems a serious crime in our streets, where children were among the victims, remained unreported to both the police and to the children's services of the NT Government.
We strongly believe the following occurred: A woman and her three young children were attacked by six to eight people in the Target carpark, Todd Mall, at 8.30pm on Saturday, April 7.
She received a wound, inflicted possibly with a knife, which required 14 stitches. Her son, in his mid-teens, was apparently stabbed, and a younger son had his jaw broken. Another child and the woman were bashed.
The attackers demanded money and were given $50. They tore a gold chain off the woman's neck.
The crime was not reported to the police, and we don't know why not.
Neither was it to the Department of Family and Children's Services (FACS). ERWIN CHLANDA investigates.
A travelling police roadshow is no substitute for a full-time policing commitment in Alice Springs, says Shadow Minister for Central Australia, Matt Conlan (pictured).
Operation Shiloh, which will see up to 25 officers transiting through Central Australia over the next few weeks, is a stop gap measure which will bring little long term benefit to the town. [Media release.]
One barometer of popular support did not augur well for Alderman Eli Melky's youth curfew motion: the public gallery at last night's council meeting was half empty. A few people from the youth sector had turned up and Acting Commander Michael White from the NT Police was also there. But the 1000 plus signatories of the petition circulated by Alds Melky and Samih Habib Bitar, who seconded his motion, had stayed away in droves. Perhaps its defeat had been accepted as a fait accompli. Nonetheless, the issues were hotly debated by aldermen. Pictured: Young opponent of a curfew, Gavin Henderson, who organised a petition against the proposal, with supporters, counsellor and independent candidate for Greatorex at the next NT election, Phil Walcott, and Alderman Sandy Taylor, chair of council's Corporate and Community Services committee. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Recorded assaults in Alice Springs are down 13.2% for the period July to September this year, relative to the same period last year.
This is better than the NT wide figure (down 9.1%) but not as good as the decreases achieved in the Top End. In Darwin the assaults dropped by 15.9%; Palmerston, 16.5%; Katherine, 19.2%.
Alice's drop is off a very high base relative to these centres. There were 401 recorded assaults in Alice for the period last year, scarcely lower than the total for Darwin (414), a city with three times the population.
This year Darwin experienced 348 in the period, and Alice, exactly the same number.
The NT Government, releasing the preliminary data today, is linking the decreases to the introduction of the Banned Drinkers Register.
Looking at the regional breakdown of people on the register, Alice Springs towers above the rest, with a total of 208 on the register at the end of September, compared to 98 in Darwin; 63 in Palmerston; Katherine, 73. – Kieran Finnane
Ald Eli Melky (pictured at left) will move his controversial motion for a youth curfew at Monday's town council meeting.
He says it's no big deal, not a bid to change the world, just a logical
move to round off the plethora of existing youth services.
He believes there are 57 of them, counting government ones and NGOs, mostly working 9 to 5.
Now watch it all unravel.
Ald Melky says while it appears there are hundreds of young people about
at night, it's just "30 to 40 kids who are holding the population to
In a conversation with the Alice Springs News Online he suggests making
it unlawful for them to be on the streets after 10pm will actually keep
Our discussion soon turns to the question: Why should this new law make
any difference to those 30 to 40 kids, given that breaking the law –
pretty well with impunity – is a way of life for them? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO at top: Aldermen John Rawnsley and Samih Habib Bitar at a "get to know you" evening with street kids in early 2009.
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.