Crime in Alice Springs

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Crime is a significant social issue in Alice Springs.[1][2][3][4] Alice Springs has the highest crime rate of any Australian city, with raw crime numbers higher than Darwin, a city with three times the population and a record of high crime.[5]


In 2009 there were 1432 recorded assaults in Alice Springs,[3] with 65% of assaults involving alcohol.[3][6] Reported assaults had almost doubled since 2004.[3] The Territory's Southern Region Police Commander, Anne-Marie Murphy said that itinerancy, domestic violence and alcohol were the main factors driving up crime rates.[3]

In the 2009-10 financial year, the Northern Territory Justice Department's Quarterly Crime & Justice Statistics report recorded that there were 1632 reported cases of theft, and 906 reports of property damage in Alice Springs.[7][8] 774 homes and businesses were broken into during the 2009-10 financial year.[7][8]

Crime increase[edit]

The NT Justice Department's Quarterly Crime & Justice Statistics report documented increases across multiple categories of crime in Alice Springs in the 6 years between the 2004-05 and the 2009-10 reporting periods.[8] Recorded cases of assault rose by 87%,[8] sexual assault offences rose by 97%,[8] and house break-ins increased by 64%.[8]

Break-ins to commercial premises rose by 185%,[8] and 'motor vehicle theft and related offences' increased by 97%[8] on 2004-05 figures.[8]

2015 saw national concern focused on youth crime in Alice Springs, including incidents in which rocks were thrown at police.[9][10]

Between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, crime rose significantly in Alice Springs. Assaults increased 15.4%, sexual assaults skyrocketed 36.2%, commercial break-ins rose 18.3%, motor vehicle theft 28.1% and property damage 12.3%[11]

Response to crime[edit]

In 2008, the Alice Springs town council began to hire private security guards to patrol the town, at a cost of $5000 per week.[4] The Northern Territory government has been accused of underfunding social services for Aboriginal people in Alice Springs,[4] as part of a wider problem of underfunding across central Australia.[4] Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan has indicated that crime has increased as more people migrated into the city from remote communities.[12]

Some long-time residents of Alice Springs have moved away as a direct result of crime concerns.[1] Local businesses have spent increased amounts to upgrade the physical security of their premises from property crime,[12][7] including the use of high security fences, razor wire and security cameras.[12][7]

See also[edit]


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