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Crime in Alice Springs – part 4

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

There really shouldn’t be this many posts on crime in this blog should there? Hopefully this will be the last of them for a long while.

In the interests of fairness, some links to the latest media articles:

Alison Anderson, Member for Macdonnell, writes a response to Jennifer Mills’ article (Shock Tactics in Alice Springs) over at New Matilda.  I found it to be a good read.

– Alice Springs News reports in today’s paper upon the community meeting held Tuesday night. I have found it to be one of the more positive reports on the event.

– Alice Springs News also runs a report on how businesses are faring here in Alice Springs, both good and bad, ups and down. It’s very obvious to me, as a local, that many of those businesses enjoying very good times right now are due to the NT Intervention.

Shaun Nancarrow’s column (sorry, you’ll have to scroll right down to the bottom of the page, the Alice Springs News site is pretty basic)(locals can just read their free copy, Shaun’s column is on page 2) looks at the vacant Melanka’s (a former nightclub & backpackers hostel) building site by night. I’d like to quote the last line:

I never thought I would see the day where I would rather have Melanka’s back but it’s true. How long will the government let the land lie undeveloped before they start to penalise the company holding?

Local councillor, Jane Clark continues to write some good, thoughtful posts on the current situation, the Intervention & other issues affecting Alice Springs.

– Finally, have a read of Outback Deb’s say on the matter today. I think she encapsulates some of the complexities of the issues facing Alice Springs. As she says, it’s not black & white.

Will the recent spate of crime reporting on Alice Springs decrease after Saturday’s by-election?

Or has the town simply had enough?

For local residents, do keep in mind the NT Government Cabinet will be sitting in Alice Springs on 29, 30 & 31 March.  Might be worth attending, especially as it looks likely there will be (another) protest by locals on law & order.

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Crime in Alice Springs. Again.

February 20, 2011 4 comments

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. 🙂

Crime in Alice Springs – an update

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Time for an update on the level of crime in Alice Springs. Last May I wrote yes, there was some crime & anti-social behaviour but overall I felt quite safe living here in Alice Springs.

Nine months later can I still say that the headlines such as this one from 10 February  Crime in Alice Killing the Town are over the top? No, I can’t.

Law and Order Tops Agenda was the front page article of the Alice Springs News of 3 February. Many of the candidates for the Alice Springs Town Council by-election on 26 February are campaigning on law and order issues.

It used to be that many of the stabbings & serious assaults did not involve white people or tourists. Tourist Stabbed in Alice Springs from 12 February has prompted more than one conversation that I’ve heard where locals are commenting  with concern & bewilderment that a German female tourist was the target of this barely late night crime. NT Police released an update today, calling for witnesses.

The Deputy Mayor says our local alcohol restriction laws (which pertain only to Alice Springs and not the entire Territory) are a “quick fix”. He wants to see “wet canteens” at remote communities to stem the flow of people moving in to town to drink.

Today the NT Police issued a media release telling us of a 52 year old man who had his car stolen from his home after being confronted by two women, one of whom threatened him with a shovel. Police found the man’s car & have made an arrest. The person they arrested is aged 15.

On the night of 24 January there were a number of incidents and NT Police made 5 arrests.

We’re only a small town! There shouldn’t be this much crime! The fact that there is tells me there is something seriously wrong.

Attorney-General Delia Lawrie (based in Darwin) states the Government has already announced several measures aimed at reducing crime in Alice Springs. But they don’t seem to be having a great impact!

A person identifying himself as “Local copper” left a comment recently on a previous post of mine. I think it’s worthwhile repeating here. It’s interesting & frightening to note that the local police watch house is no longer available to use as a sobering up shelter.

Hey there. Not sure if this post is still going. From a crime perspective, this town is rampant. As you can tell by the name… i am indead, in the job. We are chronically under staffed and do the best we can. We all live here too and most have families with children. Unfortunatly the stats don’t lie. Politicians do.

Murder capital per capita. Within not wanting to seem crass or racist, one race does dominate this and hide behind the “it’s traditional” excuse. There is nothing traditional about getting so drunk that walking and thinking just can’t occur. But the only thought process that happens is find a weapon and smash the hell out of the person closest to you.

Property crime or volume crime as it is known is a high priority. It is just that without a witness and hard evidence not a lot can be done. The finger printing that you see on the ole chestnut “CSI” is rubbish. Love to have that tech avalable… It in most parts does not exist. We band together and do the Aussie “watch a mates back” we can have an effect.

Police have recently lost on of our best tools. the abilty to remove those so intoxicated that they can’t look after themslves. The sober up shelter is a revolving door… taking them home where other highly intoxicated and usually aggressive people are is a joke.. The last option, the watch house is no longer available for the drunks.

The worst place at the moment is except for sunday night the area around teh 24hr store and old Melankas site // RFDS lawns. Want to see large scale violence… take a chair and a metal cage.. You’ll need it.

Sorry for high jacking this blog and making it all about the poice and crime. I know that is not what it was stated for. Funny how things end up.

Still love this place….. stay safe.

Like many people living in Alice Springs I often work in the CBD and usually my work puts me in the “frontline”, dealing daily with both the good and the bad. It’s not pleasant having to dodge drunks or angry people scuffling & throwing punches, screaming abuse at each other.

Whilst it may not be directed at me personally, it does touch me & puts me on edge. I’m alert, watchful, careful where I walk & park.

My home & neighbourhood is meant to be my sanctuary. However, in recent months I’ve had to remain alert in my own home. Break-ins are common now in my neighbourhood, as are random acts of wilful destruction like setting fire to signs or wheelie bins, knocking over letterboxes, smashing bottles into gardens. A lot of it may be just nuisance crime, but that doesn’t stop it being scary.

Back on board!

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Life got busy & interesting and hence there hasn’t been any regular posting here for 8 months. Twitter also intervened, capturing my undivided attention at times as I watched various shufflings  in the Australian political landscape.

I still find Twitter a most useful way in which to keep track of the news here and overseas, especially at times of fast moving crises – floods, cyclones, fires & severe storms. An Australian summer has it all and it’s been a particularly tough one for so many people across my country.

At this stage I don’t think I can write coherently on what I’ve seen beyond stating how humbled and proud I feel of my fellow Australians & those overseas visitors who have shown so much kindness & help to those in need. I recommend you read Patty Beecham’s eloquent blog of her experience in the Brisbane Flood (scroll through, dip in and out, be touched by her posts on Murphy’s Creek as well as her words as she watched Cyclone Yasi devastate the far north of her state).

I worked much of the latter half of 2010. The usual mix of hard slog, laughs, good people, frustrations & regular pay. I am enjoying my usual summer break now.

I’ve yet to plan out my working plans for 2011 due to the sudden arising of a couple of intense health issues. Once they’re sorted I can scatter my resume far and wide and gather me a job.

Glitches & gremlins in the public health system mean I am still waiting to hear the results & treatment plan from my last endoscopy. I should have an appointment to see the visiting Gastroenterologist by the end of March.

I was diagnosed with iron-deficiency anaemia last September or so. A couple of months of taking heavy duty iron tablets and my iron levels were restored to normal. Terrific. Then, out of the blue, when I was getting ready to break out the champagne to celebrate having finally, come to the end of the menopause (yay!), some very heavy bleeding (HMB) laid me low for a few weeks. And those iron levels plummeted.

And thus I found myself on a drug cocktail of progesterone, tranexamic acid & painkillers. And iron.

An ultrasound (pelvic & trans-vag) a week before Christmas resulted in a referral to the visiting Gynaecologist. The first available appointment is at the end of this month. I did consider travelling south and going private but a check of a few gynae clinics showed waiting times for a first referral anywhere between 8 and 16 weeks. I might as well stay in town and go public. I am getting terrific support from my GP.  Hoping the diagnosis will be nought but a hormone imbalance. 🙂

With the wet weather we’ve been having here in Alice Springs over recent months the grasses have grown long & the desert is still green. This has encouraged mice to proliferate. Many of them into my house. A friend offered her cat but I said no need, between the snap-traps and the perentie in the roof-space I should be able to cull the numbers of rodents. 🙂

Highlight of the summer for me has to be the Desert Tree Frog. One appears on the kitchen window at night chasing bugs & avoiding the geckos, another frog ventures out on to the front door. Absolutely lovely. 🙂

Entertaining yourself in Alice … part 2

June 6, 2010 1 comment

Alice Springs is not your typical small town with not much happening. Those that disagree, try living in some of the small towns in the rural areas of any of the other states.

We have the following:

Then there’s our magnificent landscape. Camp if you like, but much can be done via day trips too.

Uluru, or the Rock (formerly known as Ayer’s Rock) is worthy of a visit. It’s not a day trip unless you do the Emu Run Tour (coach trip). It’s 450km or so down the road. Lovely drive, and you’ll get to see the spectacular Mount Connor well prior to reaching the federal National Park. And if you’re sightseeing at the Rock, you simply must drive the extra distance and inspect & explore Kata Tjuta (formerly The Olgas).

Entertaining yourself in Alice … part 1

June 5, 2010 1 comment

So what is there to do in Alice?

It’s a bit different to be a resident here than being a short term tourist. There is some cross over in activities but new residents need something to sustain them through many a long day & night spent in the desert. It may be mundane & suburban but reading books (we have a couple of great bookstores) & watching telly do help pass the time. (Next post: we’ll venture away from the house for our entertainment.)

We have an excellent public library, with a marvellous children’s section complete with fun activities & visits from children’s authors throughout the year.

Free to air television (Freeview) supplies us with a mix of digital & analogue channels.

Analogue

  • Seven Central (a mix of 7 and Ten network programs)(6pm News is from Brisbane.)
  • Imparja/Nine

Digital

  • ABC – 1, 2, 3 and HD
  • SBS – One, Two & HD

There’s just one or two little quirks with the digital channels. ABC HD is fed from Sydney so you won’t get NT news. You need to watch ABC 1 for that. (And may I just say, as one who does a fair amount of travelling across the states, ABC NT News has the better newsreaders!)

ABC channels all broadcast as per their stated times.

SBS digital don’t. You need to subtract half an hour from the stated times. This is because it gets it’s feed from the eastern states & the digital channel here is goes to air at Eastern Standard Time, which is 30 minutes ahead of our time zone. This can be useful at times for those late night shows, for example, The Killing starts at 10pm in most places … but here, here we watch it at the more reasonable starting time of 9:30pm.

If you forget to subtract the half hour, don’t worry, you can always switch back to the analogue channel.

It’s quirkier during those months when EST becomes ESST for daylight savings.

If the Freeview channels are not enough, then there’s always Pay TV – Austar.


About that work-life balance

I have been working way too hard, earning money to pay my bills. I tell you, the hours leave me exhausted! How do people cope with full time work AND fit in all those mandatory household chores such as food shopping, cooking, laundry & cleaning the bathroom?

I can’t seem to do it.

I’m reducing my hours back to three days a week for the coming weeks as an experiment in better work-life management.

I’m hoping to get my kitchen floor mopped; it has been sadly neglected in recent weeks & is getting sticky.

😦

The toilets have been prioritized, as was the gathering of foodstuffs. Doing the laundry just once a week means the weekend is hectic. More so when it rains. Like it did this weekend.

Working just Mon-Wed-Fri may result in changing the bed linens, wouldn’t that be nice? (Lavender oil covers a multitude of sins and debauchery.)

🙂

I also need to cut back my hours as the constant typing is having an adverse impact upon the joints in my hands and wrists.

The question will be, will I be able to survive financially on the lesser hours?

I suspect I will learn to cope for I know my body & mind will appreciate the time away from the coalface. And that will make me a lot happier.