Southern Commander's message

Acting Commander Jody Nobbs has responsibility for the Southern Command, which includes the Southern Desert, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek and Barkly Divisions.

When reviewing crime statistics for early 2019, it is evident that we continue to have varied outcomes for the Southern Command; ongoing success regarding the downward trend of offences against the person inclusive of domestic violence offences across the region continues into 2019. Unfortunately there have been unacceptable rises in property crime in both Alice Springs and Tennant Creek during this period; this along with a considerably low rate in early 2018 has led to high year on year statistical reporting.

Pleasingly there is a 16% decrease in total offences against the person in Alice Springs. This included a 17% decrease in total assaults; a 14% decrease in domestic violence related assaults and 11% decrease in sexual assault offences. In Tennant Creek there has been a 22% reduction in offences against the person; this includes a 22% decrease in assaults from year on year statistics to end of February 2019. It is evident that policing efforts have successfully reduced the incidents of offences against the person with ongoing strategies targeting repeat offenders, decreasing the accessibility of alcohol to problem drinkers in our community and continued enforcement of the Liquor Act 1978, all contributing to success in this area. The roll out of police auxiliary liquor inspectors (PALIs) continues, with further increases in PALIs in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, as of March 2019 there are 27 in Alice Springs and two in Tennant Creek. The Alcohol Policing Unit continues to be active in the Southern Command targeting secondary sale of alcohol and other breaches of the Liquor Act 1978 and there has been a 26% decrease in alcohol related assaults in Alice Springs and 38% decrease in Tennant Creek.

Officers from across the Southern Command continue to maintain a proactive approach to alcohol related crime along with a focus on drug use and road safety enforcement. Our members are also targeting responsible drinking in and around licensed premises to reduce the incidences of violence, antisocial behaviour and the harm caused by drugs and excessive and irresponsible alcohol consumption. The Southern Command management team is continuing to work with licensees to improve the amenity of areas surrounding licensed premises. We encourage members of the public to report antisocial behaviour at or around licensed premises so we can better focus our resources to ensure the ongoing safety of members of our community.

Total property offences in Alice Springs are 15% higher, while neutral in Tennant Creek in February 2019 in comparison to the same time last year. This has been driven by a 114% increase in residential break-ins in Alice Springs and a 62% increase in Tennant Creek. Pleasingly, Tennant Creek has seen a reduction of 22% in commercial premises break-ins. As mentioned earlier, the increase in year on year through to February statistics can be attributed to a recent spike in offending along with significant lows at the same time last year. When reviewing the last three months, there are indications the numbers of break-ins is starting to trend down following a peak in the month of November. It is evident that in most cases offenders were targeting keys to steal motor vehicles from premises. Unfortunately as a result, there has been an increase in motor vehicle theft across the region with a 41% increase in Alice Springs and an 84% increase in Tennant Creek.

There are a number of operations being undertaken in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, particularly as we approach the Easter Holiday period in an attempt to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in our regional towns. This remains a main focus of policing and multiagency efforts to bring down the current unacceptable rate of break-ins. Police in both regions continue to work with Government and non-Government agencies to case manage high risk youth and target offenders and hotspots as part of ongoing preventative measures crime reduction strategies. These have also been enhanced to combat the increase in property crime. Police are also increasing covert and overt patrols in the community using an evidence based and intelligence informed approach to ensure officers are targeting the right areas at the right times. 

In many cases the intelligence is obtained from members of the public reporting suspicious activity within their community. Members of the public are encouraged to continue to report all crimes and suspicious behaviour via Triple Zero (000) if the matter is urgent, the police assistance line (131 444) or via Crime Stoppers anonymously (1800 333 000). The reporting of all crime, suspicious and antisocial behaviour, allows police to address the offending promptly and ensures our intelligence teams are able to direct patrols to identified crime and antisocial hotspots within the Southern Command’s area of responsibility.

We are continuing to call on the community to assist police in combating this rise in property crime and ensure their business premises, homes and vehicles are secured at all times. Valuables should not be left within sight or within business premises. Unfortunately we continue to see a significant number of reported break-ins occurring through open or unlocked doors and windows. Police are still promoting crime prevention strategies. More tips and information can be found on the Neighbourhood Watch NT webpage, as well as the Northern Territory (NT) Government Biz Secure program to help eligible Territory businesses improve their security against the risk of break-ins, with more information on this program being found at Biz Secure. Owners of licensed premises in the NT may 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.