Southern Commander's message

A/Commander Neil Hayes has responsibility for the Southern Command, which includes Central Desert, Tennant Creek and Barkly, and Alice Springs Divisions.

Overall, Alice Springs residential break-ins continue to track down on the previous 12 months by 11%. This is in part due to the continued good work by both our general duties response team as well as the officers attached to Strike Force Winx and, hopefully, due to the strong prevention messages and advice that have been provided to the community on how to reduce the risks of being a target of opportunistic thieves. Unfortunately, commercial break-ins continue to sit higher than we would like, at 35% up on the same time last year. Alcohol remains a common item being targeted in these offences along with other smaller items of value. However, during March we have seen a significant reduction in the total number of unlawful entries compared to previous months.

In an effort to further reduce these numbers, a Crime Prevention and Safety Expo was held on 8 April 2017 in Alice Springs. This further complemented proactive messaging and advice on home and personal security and safety. The event, a collaboration with Northern Territory Government agencies, non‑Government Organisations and local home security businesses, saw over 1000 attendees and the relaunch of Neighbourhood Watch in Alice Springs. Further information on Neighbourhood Watch and crime prevention tips can be found here.

The Easter period saw the reintroduction of the Community Football competition being played in Alice Springs. This year, through negotiation with the Interagency Tasking and Coordination Group and AFLNT, the opening round of the competition was held in Alice Springs over the Easter long weekend. The coordinated approach to the planning of this event seems to have contributed to the success and the event saw a positive reintroduction of the bush Easter football event to Alice Springs.

Tackling violence, in particular domestic and family violence, across the region remains a key focus too. I am pleased that we are still seeing decreases in the numbers of ‘offences against the person’, with a 14% reduction in this area. While the number of reported incidents remains high, and presence of alcohol remains, we are still seeing much lower levels of violence in many of these cases when compared to previous years. Recently, the Southern region has received an additional mobile closed circuit television unit. This has been deployed in hotspot locations to provide additional safety to residents, and deter and detect antisocial behaviour.  

Tennant Creek paints a slightly different picture and unfortunately remains higher in most areas for the period when compared to the same period last year. This is following historical lows in crime statistics in the region in recent years, and total victim-based crime remains lower than three to six years ago.

In regards to break-ins, Tennant Creek has experienced quite the opposite to Alice Springs with residential break-ins higher, up 34%; however, on a positive note commercial break-ins are down by 11%. Again much of this offending was very opportunistic and a result of unsecured premises with unlocked doors and windows making things all too easy for the offenders.

Alcohol too remains present in many of the reports of ‘offences against the person’ with the numbers again being up on last year by 18%, with the majority associated with domestic violence. We will continue to focus on early intervention and alcohol management to hopefully see this figure reduce going forward. This includes working in partnership with Licensing to address supply and enforce responsible on-premises service and drinking.