Southern Commander's message

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

Property crime in Alice Springs continues to be driven down with a significant reduction of 10% achieved year on year for total property crime in contrast to the same time in 2017. This includes a 17% reduction in both residential and commercial break-ins and a 20% drop in motor vehicle theft and relates offences. Property crime has continued to trend down throughout the latter part of 2017.

These reductions have been achieved through the excellent and dedicated work by local police and other government agencies through a coordinated whole-of-government approach to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. This continued throughout January 2018 school holidays through Operational Shulton that saw unprecedented cooperation and collaboration between frontline agencies working together with a single focus of reducing harm to the Alice Springs Community. Key to this has been the ability to identify issues quickly and develop solutions to disrupt criminal activity in a targeted way.

Unfortunately, there continues to be a number of sporadic property crime series committed by small groups of offenders who target unsecure houses and vehicles. In the case of thefts from vehicles, this has included valuables left within and in plain sight. Opportunistic theft continues to occur and I encourage community members to ensure their homes and vehicles are secured at all times and valuables are not left within sight.

The Southern Command crime reduction units including the Youth and Community Engagement Team and Strike Force Winx will continue to work closely with other government and non-government departments through the coordination of resources throughout 2018.

Unfortunately, offences against the person, including assaults, are trending up across the NT. In Alice Springs assault offences have increased 22% in comparison to the same period in 2017. Sexual assault and related offences are down 23% over the year, assaults involving domestic violence are up 12% although this is a two percent reduction from December. Alcohol continues to be a factor in 64% of all assaults however this is 7 percent lower that the high in 2014.

Local police continue to target the misuse of alcohol and all other causal factors relating to assault through targeted intelligence led operations including temporary beat locations, illegal supply of alcohol and high profile licensed premises patrols and engagement with licensees through Operation Haven. Local police and all stakeholders continue to work closely to improve the safety for women and children in Alice Springs. This includes the expansion of the Domestic Violence Prevention Unit to include dedicated Aboriginal Community Police Officers to deliver improved victim and community engagement, particularly in town camps in Alice Springs.

Operation Haven commenced on 19 February 2018 with the aim of reversing the trends and reducing the incidents of assault, specifically Domestic and Family Violence and alcohol harm in Alice Springs. The operation is based on an intelligence sharing and partnership model incorporating representatives from all Government and some non-Government agencies. Activities are directed and intelligence shared through daily interagency coordination meetings, led by Police.

The Southern Command will receive a significant resource boost in April 2018 with the graduation of 32 officers from recruit squad 133, with all but one of this cadre of officers being deployed within the Southern Command. The squad consists of officers who have substantial policing experience from interstate and New Zealand. The expansion in resources will allow for an increase in proactive crime reduction operations within the Southern Command that will focus on alcohol-fuelled violence and antisocial behaviour in our community.

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 anonymously 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 anti-social 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 when reporting to Crime Stoppers).