Northern Commander's message

Commander Michael Hebb leads the Northern Command, which includes the Katherine, Central, and Northern Divisions.

The crime statistics for the May 2018 to April 2019 period have demonstrated that Police and the community are experiencing reductions in some crime categories across the Northern Command, but there also continues to be opportunity reduce further offending.

Through targeted policing activities, and enhanced engagement with the community, reductions are continuing with Commercial Break-ins. It is acknowledged that the April 2019 stats identify that Commercial Break-ins are up 109%. This is year on year data which reflects that have been 175 more Commercial Break-ins comparing the May 2017 to April 2018 period with the May 2018 to April 2019 period. However, it should be noted in January 2019, the year on year data showed there had been 222 more Commercial Break-ins (an increase of 202%). Over the past five months there has been a continual decline with regards to Commercial Break-ins when assessing year on year data. One of the contributing factors to the reduction was the launch of Operation Pelion by Police in Katherine in February 2019, which is designed to prevent and respond to property crime. This operation is a multifaceted approach to crime reduction through targeting recidivist offenders and reduce offender’s opportunity to commit crime. A key focus is working closer with repeat victims. Police are also working with the community to provide awareness of, and linkage to, crime reductions strategies such as Biz Secure and Alcohol Secure (refer page 2 for further details on both strategies). 

For the reporting period of May 2018 to April 2019, motor vehicle theft and related offences were up 34% (an increase of 22 offences). Whilst Police will continue to target such offending, the community are encouraged to ensure opportunity for the stealing of, and from, motor vehicles is minimised. There have been a number of occasions where a car is stolen due to the keys to a vehicle being easily identified/located inside a commercial or residential residence. It is recommended that car keys aren’t easily accessed or sighted when at home or work, for example, not left on a table at the rear of a house or on the wall/in a drawer at a business premises. Removing easy access to car keys will further assist in reducing the potential for motor vehicle related offences.  

For the year May 2018 to April 2019 the crime statistics identified that House Break-ins were up 17% (an increase of 19 offences for the 12 month period). In January 2019, the year on year data showed there had been an increase of 39 House Break-ins (up 34%) compared to the previous 12 month period. Additional targeted activities are being undertaken in an attempt to realise further reductions with all property crime, including commercial and House Break-ins.

The crime statistics identify that Assaults for the Katherine Division was up 1% (being an increase of 3 offences) for the 12 month period ending April 2019, compared to the 12 months ending April 2018. Again, there has been continued reduction in the year on year data regarding Assaults, which were up as high as 13% (an increase of 69 offences) for the 12 months ending January 2019. The deployment of Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors to perform Point of Sale Intervention at licensed premises within the Katherine region has been a key contributor to the reductions in assaults, and other alcohol related harm.

The table below provides an overview of crime statisticss for the past five reporting periods within the Katherine Division in regards to Assaults, House Break-ins and Commercial Break-ins.


House Break-ins

Commercial Break-ins

12 months ending Dec 2018 compared to 12 months ending Dec 2017

Up 9%

Up 27%

Up 223%

12 months ending Jan 2019 compared to 12 months ending Jan 2018

Up 13%

Up 34%

Up 202%

12 months ending Feb 2019 compared to 12 months ending Feb 2018

Up 8%

Up 23%

Up 132%

12 months ending Mar 2019 compared to 12 months ending Mar 2018

Up 4%

Up 11%

Up 117%

12 months ending Apr 2019 compared to 12 months ending Apr 2018

Up 1%

Up 17%

Up 109%


Total offences against the person for the Nhulunbuy region is continuing to drop, with the 12 month period ending April 2019, when compared to the previous 12 month period, showing a reduction of 28%. Total property offences for the Nhulunbuy region is down 23% for the 12 month period ending April 2019, when compared to the previous 12 month period, with House Break-ins being down 55% and Commercial Break-ins being down 54%, but motor vehicle and related offences are up 41%, being an increase of seven offences. Nhulunbuy Police are continuing to engage and work with other agencies and local groups to identify and implement crime prevention strategies across the region.

As highlighted in previous messages, we are now in the ‘Dry Season’, which traditionally leads to an increase in the number of road users, particularly with tourists travelling through the Northern Territory (NT). I again urge the community to plan road trips well ahead and to factor in the potential of additional traffic. Drivers need to ensure they are well rested before driving long distances, and to and closely monitor fatigue levels. Remember; Drive So Others Survive.

Police will continue to promote crime prevention strategies, with tips and information being found on the Neighbourhood Watch NT web page, as well as the NT Government Biz Secure program to help eligible NT businesses improve their security against the risk of break-ins. Owners of licensed premises in the NT may be also be eligible to apply for funding to protect alcohol stock from theft and damage. Further information on this funding initiative can be found at Alcohol Secure.

Members of the public are encouraged to continue to report all crimes and suspicious behaviour via 000 if the matter is urgent or to 131 444 or via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous. The reporting of all crime, suspicious and antisocial behaviour allows officers to address the offending promptly. It also helps the NT Police Force ensure our intelligence teams are able to best direct police patrols to identified crime and antisocial hotspots across the Northern Command.