Darwin and Road Policing Commander's Message

Acting Commander Sachin Sharma has assumed responsibility for providing leadership to Darwin and Road Policing Command, which includes a divisional structure encompassing Darwin, Casuarina, Nightcliff and Palmerston Police Stations. The Darwin figures are inclusive of Darwin and Casuarina Police Districts, whereas the Palmerston figures include Palmerston Police District.

For the past two months, the COVID-19 health emergency has presented unprecedented challenges to all types of policing operations. The demand on police resources has grown exponentially and Darwin and Road Policing Command has implemented several business continuity plans.  New duties include conducting COVID-19 compliance checks and contributing people to assist with border and biosecurity control measures.

In the 12 month period ending March 2020 in the Darwin and Casuarina Districts, commercial break-ins reduced by 192 (-37.7%) however, an increase in break-ins to residential properties was experienced. There were 157 (23%) more residential break-ins reported during this period but it remained at par with the figures released in February 2020. Overall property crime remained proportionally static compared to the previous 12 months.    

In Palmerston for the same period, there were 14 less (-3.6%) house break-ins and 92 less (-40.5%) commercial break-ins. The overall property crime in Palmerston District has reduced by 338 (-11.2%) when compared with same time last year.

Throughout the Command, there have been ongoing collaborative initiatives with key partner agencies to prevent crime.  These include working with local councils and other government departments, targeted patrolling (hot-spot mapping) and the temporary closure of some laneways.

Opportunity based offending remained a pertinent factor in property crime data where a correlation between break-ins and motor vehicle theft is noted. In other words, a majority of break-ins are through unlocked or easily removed features of a dwelling. In numerous cases, the offenders will steal items located on kitchen benches or are readily visible which often includes car keys. This possible correlation is evident in the following brief analysis:

  • In Darwin and Casuarina Districts, house break-ins have increased by 23% and the theft of motor vehicle and related offences have also increased by 5.5%.
  • In Palmerston District house break-ins have decreased 3.6% and the theft of motor vehicles had related offences have also decreased by 10.4%.

Therefore, I would like to convey the same key messages to our community:

  • Ensure your residence is secure and doors are locked particularly at night.
  • Close your louvres if you do not have security bars across the louvre panels.
  • Do not leave items of value visible within your vehicles and do not leave wallets, purses and car keys in plain sight on a kitchen bench.
  • Secure your businesses and homes (even when you are at home) including locking screen doors (not just activating the snib).
  • Install sensor lights and keep your garden trimmed around doors and windows.
  • Have someone empty your letter box if you are away at any time.
  • Keep an eye on your neighbours and report any suspicious activity in your area to police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000; and again,
  • Make sure your home is locked when you’re home or out. Your doors should be locked when your front or back doors are not visible to you.

Find out more about and become involved with Neighbourhood Watch by visiting their web page. It contains some excellent tips on crime prevention and enhancing your home security profile.

Assaults and violent crimes have remained relatively static across the Darwin and Palmerston areas. Darwin has seen an overall reduction of -0.4% while Palmerston has seen an increase of 3%. Substance abuse remained a causal factor in assaults relating to domestic violence. The Northern Territory Police Force has invested a significant amount of resources to tackle the scourge of domestic violence and is working closely with other relevant government departments to protect the innocent and vulnerable Territorians.

Our road policing activities are continuing across the Command despite some minor operational changes due to COVID-19 response. The number of lives lost on NT roads currently stands at 7 compared to 11 this time last year. The relevant COVID-19 travel and social restrictions may have some impact on the statistics and it may remain the case for the next few months.