Home > Uncategorized > Crime in Alice Springs. Again.

Crime in Alice Springs. Again.

First up I am going to shout out to all prospective tourists & visitors to Alice Springs that, despite the number of bad news stories in the media of late, especially over the past few days, ALICE SPRINGS IS A SAFE TOWN TO VISIT! 🙂

Honestly? The current crime levels are really only impacting upon the locals, black & white alike.

Occasionally an unlucky tourist will be the target of some unpleasant assault, such as the German woman walking with a group of friends, was stabbed one night earlier this month.

It should be noted however that all the victims of this crime were released quickly from hospital so we can assume wounds were not serious. I do accept this group of tourists will have been traumatized by this unpleasant encounter.

But overall, crime in this town affects primarily the local businesses and residents.

Tourists should exercise the same safety precautions they would observe whilst in a large city.

Check out Travel Outback Australia, a local website, for some really good advice about visiting & living here in Alice Springs.  And remember,  ALICE SPRINGS IS A SAFE TOWN TO VISIT!

Right now crime is at a level where many of the locals are complaining in frustration. Some businesses are taking extraordinary security measures (I consider using razor wire on fences to be extraordinary).

Me? I’m just tired of seeing so much litter in town – the empty alcohol cans & broken bottles, the silver wine cask bladders (used for sniffing volatile substances), the vomit & other excreta in public areas. Council does a good job cleaning up each day but it seems a never ending task. Tired also of hearing of the increasing number of break-ins and burglaries. Too many friends & people I know have recently experienced the trauma of such crimes.

I am also tired of seeing those big blue & white signs around town, one of which you can see on the drive in to town from the airport.

We’re just a small town of around 30,000 people. Should we be experiencing such levels of crime and anti-social behaviour? Should our excellent but small Alice Springs Hospital’s ED be seeing an average of 120 patients per day? (To contrast, Austin Hospital is one of Melbourne’s larger hospitals and sees an average of 200 per day. Melbourne’s population is considerably greater than Alice Springs’.)  Doesn’t this tell you there is something wrong in this remote desert town?

Local alderman Jane Clark says in her thoughtful post Law and Order, Vigilantism, Alice Springs:

I do place a lot of blame on the carelessness of the implementation of the federal intervention. When Alice Springs and Katherine Town Councils first felt the impact of people leaving communities due to the intervention, we were unable to access funding required for emergency affordable housing or for adequate social services.  Basically the feds didn’t believe what we were saying.  Now the mess is obvious and we still wait for the assistance needed to cope with this disaster as it unfolds before us.

I think Jane Clark is right.

Perhaps the NT & Federal levels of government need to go back to the Recommendations of the Little Children are Sacred Report and implement them properly and in full? This is what led to the Northern Territory National Emergency Response aka “the intervention”.  Initially I supported the intervention, but now? Obviously it’s not working so let’s go back to the Little Children are Sacred Report and re-read those recommendations. That would be a start.

I think there needs to be honesty and acceptance from all concerned parties in Alice Springs & indeed the whole of the NT, white & black. There needs to be a real willingness for all parties to implement workable, fair strategies, programs & lifestyle modifications. I think there has also to be an acceptance by all levels of government that a one size fits all approach will not work.

NT & Federal governments need to listen to the local shire & town councils. Governments need to actively engage with each Indigenous community, each mob. They all need to be listened to, respected, asked “what will help your community?”, “how can we best help you?” Yes, that makes it more expensive but tough.

I am weary of seeing runs in the media such as we have seen over the past few days:

Alice Springs News – Cops all out on crime but aldermen want more

NT News – Alice crime tsunami building tension

The Australian – Destroyed in Alice

NT Police Media Releases – Indecent Assault – Alice Springs – Update 1

NT Police Media Releases – Suspicious Death – Alice Springs – Update 1

But remember, I am speaking as someone who lives here. The town is QUITE SAFE for tourists, so please, do come & visit. 🙂

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  1. February 20, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Just discovered your blog today via Twitter and what a fascinating blog it is too. I visited Alice for the first time about 4 years ago and loved it, although I could see its problems. A shame that crime is increasing as it looked like an interesting place to live, full of quirky characters. I hope the community finds a resolution. Your blog post certainly won’t put me off visiting again. BTW, I hope you managed to resolve your health problems.

    • February 20, 2011 at 7:08 am

      Thank you for your kind words Marie & welcome to my blog. 🙂 Glad my posts won’t put you off paying a return visit to Alice Springs. And yes, still a few quirky characters in town!

  2. anthony martin
    February 20, 2011 at 6:09 am

    hi . i agree as a tourist having passed through and stayed in the ALICE,4 times in the past 2 years with my wife and young grandson, the stays have been pleasant,like all large centres if your in the wrong place at the wrong time, things can get ugly, but for tourists like myself the ALICE, is a great outback city all Australians should visit,your points about the law and order problems are for the local community, to work through, its your town 24/7 and im sure you dont need too much advice from tourists . hope to be in ALICE again this July, i hope the local community can improve the law and order problems enjoy your blogs an twitter

    • February 20, 2011 at 7:13 am

      Thanks for commenting Anthony. I am sure by winter Alice Springs’ crime levels will have settled down again. The desert is incredibly green after last year’s rainfalls and currently we have wildflowers blooming in mid-summer! 🙂 Makes for a lovely different look across the landscape. Still incredibly, achingly beautiful scenery. Trust you’ll enjoy your next visit in July when it’s lovely and cool. 🙂

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