Southern Commander's message

Commander Michael White has responsibility for the Southern Command, which includes the Southern Desert, Southern Investigations and Alice Springs Divisions.

Throughout July and August, Alice Springs observes a considerable increase in visitors. This can be attributed to the school holiday period along with the cooler weather enticing ‘grey nomads’ and international tourists to the red centre. Unfortunately the increase in visitors does see an increase in sporadic opportunistic crime in our community.

Total property offences in Alice Springs are 3% higher in comparison to the 12 month ending in August. This has been driven by an increase in residential break-ins of 24% with offenders targeting portable items such as cash and motor vehicles. At the same time the yearly comparison to 2017 indicates continual downward trend of 7% in regards to commercial break-ins and 2% for property damage offences.  Although offenders have been identified and placed before the court for many of the offences, the increase will have an effect on our crime statistics over the next reporting periods.

The Southern Command crime reduction units, including the Youth and Community Engagement Team and Strike Force Winx, continue to work closely with other government and non-government departments through the coordination of resources to prevent property crime.  

Opportunistic crime continues to occur and I encourage people to ensure their business premises, homes and vehicles are secured at all times and valuables aren’t left within sight or within business premises. Unfortunately we continue to see a significant numbers of reported break-ins occurring through open or unlocked doors.

Operation Haven commenced in the region in February 2018 with the aim of reversing the trends and reducing incidents of assault, specifically Domestic and Family Violence and alcohol-related harm. The operation is based on an intelligence sharing and partnership model. It incorporates representatives from all Government and some non-Government agencies. Activities are directed and information shared through frequent interagency coordination meetings.

Although offences against the person, including assaults, remain high with an increase of 16% in comparison to year on year data to August, the multi-agency efforts since February are being rewarded. The region has seen a continual down trend in domestic violence related assaults year on year following a peak in January of 26%.

It is evident that alcohol continues to be a factor in many assaults and local police continue to target the misuse of alcohol and all other causal factors relating to assault through targeted intelligence-led operations. 18 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors (PALI) have successfully completed their induction training and are undergoing ‘On the Job Training’ at licensed premises in Alice Springs. With additional resources becoming available the Alice Springs community will see an increase in police presence into the future.  This will result in a reduction of the supply to problem drinkers and consumption of alcohol in prohibited areas and restricted premises and will also allow frontline officers to focus on preventative patrols and operations.

The Southern Desert Division continues to see an increase in police presence in remote communities with the deployment of the Southern and Barkly Regional Support Unit (SBRSU) to remote police posts in line with the remote policing strategy. This has resulted in an increase in proactive patrols and positive engagement with our remote community members.

As the dry season comes to a close, it’s timely that those communities in Southern Command who could be affected by flooding consider their preparedness for such events. Further safety advice can be found on the Northern Territory Emergency Services website, with floods specific plans and advice available. Other parts of the Command require communities to be prepared for unexpected grass and bushfires associated with the drier weather, with further advice available on the NT Fire and Rescue Service website.

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. 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.

NT Police continues to encourage the community to access the Neighbourhood Watch NT website which provides some practical tips on how you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim. The community is also reminded that if you have any information you wish to share about an issue you think NT Police should be aware of, you can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 (callers can remain anonymous).