Northern Commander's message

Commander Michael Hebb has responsibility for the Northern Command, which includes the Katherine, Central, and Northern Divisions.

When comparing crime statistics for the year ending December 2018 with the year ending December 2017, there are mixed results across the Northern Command. In remote regions, such as Nhulunbuy, there have been some reductions in total property offences whilst the Katherine area has seen an increase in property crime.

For the 12 months ending December 2018, total offences in the Nhulunbuy region are down by 17% compared with the year ending December 2017, with commercial break-ins being down 25%. Theft and related offences (other than Motor Vehicles) are down 24%. Whilst assault offences have decreased by 10%, alcohol-related offences have increased by 8%. Nhulunbuy Police have been working with other agencies, including the Department of Territory Housing and Community Development, providing advice for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design audits to heighten improved security measures. The Nhulunbuy Police have also continued their commitment to reducing domestic and family violence. The use of the Family Safety Framework meets fortnightly in order to maintain oversight and assist families with the goal to reducing the risk of harm. It provides an important tool to coordinate a multiagency response to assist families in crisis.

In Katherine for the 12 months ending December 2018, total assault offences are up 9% compared with the year ending December 2017. During the same reporting period, alcohol-related offences are up 12%. However, there has been a continued reduction in assaults, alcohol-related assaults and domestic violence assaults over the past three months, as reflected below:


Assault Offences

Alcohol Related Assaults

Domestic Violence Assaults

12 months ending Oct 2018 compared to Oct 2017

Up 24%

Up 30%

Up 33%

12 months ending Nov 2018 compared to Nov 2017

Up 18%

Up 24%

Up 26%

12 months ending Dec 2018 compared to Dec 2017

Up 9%

Up 12%

Up 18%


In October 2018, Katherine Police increased their focus on performing Point of Sale Intervention functions at liquor outlets in an effort to reduce alcohol-related harm. This focus will continue with the commencement of Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors in Katherine from early January 2019 in an effort to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence within the community. 

Property crime in Katherine, particularly break-ins of private and commercial premises, was still significantly up for the 12 months ending December 2018, when comparing the 12 months ending December 2017. Commercial break-ins are up 223% and house break-ins are up 27%. 

Katherine Police are committed to working with our community to reduce property crime within the town. Police are continuing to meet with members of the public, including the Katherine Chamber of Commerce. There is ongoing victim engagement to inform policing activities in an effort to address increases in property crime. Crime prevention strategies are being regularly communicated to community members in an effort to prevent opportunistic offending. 

Katherine Police have recently also launched Operation Pelion, which will be a multifaceted approach to crime reduction, with police members committed to the operation who will perform the following (but not limited to) functions:

  • Use intelligence products to target recidivist offenders;
  • Improve the intelligence holdings on recidivist property offenders and engage in strategies (inclusive of multi-agency approaches) to reduce the desire and ability for repeat offenders to commit crime;
  • Conduct repeat victim engagement – victims will be re-empowered and at every possible opportunity, be a part of the judicial process;
  • Review finalised unlawful entry cases to ascertain whether there are additional avenues of enquiry;
  • Clear up current unlawful entry cases where there is forensic or fingerprint evidence;
  • Conduct daily audits of unlawful entry cases to ensure best practice and improved governance and accountability; and
  • Conduct covert policing activities in known hotspots.

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 Territory businesses improve their security against the risk of break-ins. Owners of licensed premises in the Northern Territory 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.

Whilst we are in the Wet Season, it is timely to remind the public living in communities who could be affected by cyclones/flooding to consider their preparedness for such events. Further safety advice can be found on the Northern Territory Emergency Service website, with cyclone and floods being the relevant links.