NT communities call for ‘smarter’ solutions to break cycle of crime amid dramatic rise

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North territory residents want the government to address the underlying causes of crime instead of tougher prison sentences or more police on the streets, a new study has found.

A report by the Smarter Justice for Safer Communities campaign showed that 70% of survey respondents want to break the cycle of recidivism instead of a tough on crime approach.

Only 6% agreed that the current system works to keep the community safe.

As new alcohol restrictions hit Alice Springs to tackle a crime wave, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is not ruling out a ban on all alcohol.
A new campaign calls for better justice and support systems to prevent crime in Alice Springs. (Kate Geraghty/Sydney Morning Herald)

“The Northern Territory is the only jurisdiction in this country where crime is actually on the rise, confirming that so-called ‘tough on crime’ approaches to justice have done nothing to break the cycle of crime or reduce the prevalence of crime in our communities,” said Olga Havnen, Co-Chair of the Northern Territory Indigenous Justice Accord Governance Committee.

“The public is well aware of the challenges we face and has told us that they are disappointed with the policies of the past and are ready to embrace alternative and worthwhile approaches to justice that have been proven to work and can be easily spread in the communities of the Territory”.

The campaign, supported by the Paul Ramsey Foundation and Indigenous-led organizations, calls for improved justice responses, early intervention, drug and alcohol treatment and mental health programs.

It comes after the report found that an “outdated approach” to criminal justice “is particularly damaging to Indigenous Territories, which are disproportionately affected by poor justice system outcomes”.

“The state’s high incarceration rates do not yield the best outcomes for victims, offenders, or communities,” the report said.

“The current system does not keep Territorians safe, provide value for money to taxpayers, or reduce harm to Indigenous communities.

A burnt out car in Alice Springs overnight.
A burnt out car in Alice Springs early Saturday morning. (Action for Alice)

NT Police made several calls for information on crime in Alice Springs over the weekend.

Three suspicious car fires occurred in the early hours of Saturday on Bath Street in the CBD, Gason Street and Bromley Street in Gillen.

Police also reported two burglaries on Saturday.

A business on the corner of Leichhardt Terrace and Stott Terrace was robbed where a Toyota LandCruiser was stolen and later found abandoned.

The Peter Sitzler Building on Stuart Highway was also broken into where a white Toyota Hilux and a white Toyota Prado were stolen.

No vehicle has yet been found.

Officers appealed for information on burglaries and car fires.

Alice Springs is experiencing a dramatic increase in crime. (9News)

Data released in February showed an alarming increase in crime between 2021 and 2022.

Assaults are up 51% in a calendar year, with 2,823 reported in a city of 26,000.

Domestic violence-related assaults increased again, up 65%. Alcohol-related assaults increased by 68%.

There have been 1,886 reported cases of domestic violence and 1,521 alcohol-related assaults.

Property damage increased by 55% and commercial burglaries by 47%.

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NT communities call for ‘smarter’ solutions to break cycle of crime amid dramatic rise

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