Alice Springs youth crime spree triggers extreme response from Northern Territory Police


Northern Territory Police warned residents of Alice Springs to avoid the CBD last night after three stolen vehicles, including a Toyota Prado from the ABC complex on Gap Road, were observed driving dangerously and targeting vehicles from police.

Assistant Commissioner Martin Dole said it was an extreme but necessary measure.

“We had stolen motor vehicles driving around the CBD in an extremely dangerous manner, targeting vehicles and targeting vehicles head-on,” he said.

“It was really a matter of public safety to say to the public, ‘If you don’t need to be there, please don’t come to town because you’re at risk. “”

Assistant Commissioner Dole said it had been a horrible week for stolen vehicles.

“There’s no sugar coating – it was terrible,” he said.

“What we’ve seen is these completely high-risk and unacceptable behaviors from these young criminals.”

Assistant Commissioner Dole said police would not be prompted to turn on lights and sirens.

“We have to prevent it from becoming a game and not being entertaining for these young people anymore,” he said.

“[We’re not going to] chase people like the movies through the CBD with lights and sirens on, because it’s a public risk.”

Five people were arrested in total.

Three people apprehended for reckless driving in the CBD have been driven home.

Assistant Commissioner Dole said police cells were no places for children, but said they would face consequences.

“When there is a public risk, obviously we apprehend them, we bring them in while we work out sufficient evidence to bring charges before these children,” he said.

“The fact that they have been taken home does not mean that there will be no consequences.

“That doesn’t mean they won’t be brought before the court.

“It just means that at some point we have to release them from custody and put them in a place of safety.”

In a statement, police said they expected to charge a 13-year-old boy with aggravated unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

The statement said two 12-year-olds, one 11-year-old and one 13-year-old would be dealt with under the Juvenile Justice Act 2005.

“Too scared to talk about it”

Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson described the night’s events as “absolutely disgusting” and called on the Northern Territory government to approach the situation in the same way as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve often compared it to COVID with this government — that they can change things on the fly,” he said.

“They did it very well.

“They kept saying, ‘We’re the safest place in the world,’ the Northern Territory.

“Well, right now I think we’re the least safe place.

“What we need to do is deal with this issue quickly because it is an emergency.

“Having advice from the police not to enter our CBD is absolutely mind boggling, because of the crime and stolen cars.”

Mr Paterson says there will soon be a tragedy in the town if no action is taken.(ABC News: Dylan Anderson)

Mr Paterson said control of the Central Australian town had been lost.

“Usually the mayor is the person who runs a town, and so is the council,” he said.

“This community is run by 30-50 kids who don’t care or respect anyone.”

He urged the NT government to fix a “broken” system and gave a grim prognosis for events to come.

“We need something tonight, so I can say to my community, ‘This is what’s being implemented to keep you safe,'” Mr Paterson said.

“We’re too scared to talk about it because of things that happened in past lives.

“An innocent person is going to die, or these children are going to die.

“There’s no coming back after this – and it’s going to happen in Alice Springs in 2022.”

Mr Paterson also reiterated his support for a youth curfew.

“I’m not going to punch anyone for trying anything in the current climate,” he said.

“We just need to write something.”

A man with short dark hair and light stubble stands in front of trees.
Joshua Burgoyne says urgent action must be taken to deal with what he calls a “serious emergency”.(ABC News: Owain Stia-James)

Call for “boots on the ground”

Braitling CLP member Joshua Burgoyne, who grew up in Alice Springs, said he could not remember the last time police issued such a warning to residents.

“What we really need to recognize now is that we’ve had a crisis for a long time, now we need an emergency response,” he said.

“When you have police officers saying their vehicles are being targeted by perpetrators who are in stolen vehicles, I think that’s a serious, serious problem that we have now.”

Mr Burgoyne, the territory’s shadow minister for families, said there was ‘absolute carnage’ in the community.

He called for additional police resources and “boots on the ground”.

“It is a serious emergency that we find ourselves in right now,” he said.

“We have guardians, parents who absolutely do not accept the behavior of their children or who are complicit in it.”


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