Sex assaults, house break-ins have jumped

WORRYING TREND: There has been a 64 per cent rise in sexual assaults in Katherine over the past year..
WORRYING TREND: There has been a 64 per cent rise in sexual assaults in Katherine over the past year..

HOUSE break-ins have risen by almost 83 per cent in Katherine over the past year.

Sexual assaults are up 64 per cent.

While overall crime levels remain at their second lowest level over the past six years, some crime numbers have jumped alarmingly over the past year.

Commander Matt Hollamby said the increase in house break-ins was largely the result of two “crime series” which occurred in October 2016 and December-January.

“People were arrested for these crime series and property crime has since abated,” Commander Hollamby said.

He said commercial break-ins are still at their lowest levels in the last six years (a fall of 16 per cent).

Property damage (up 25 per cent), motor vehicle theft (up seven per cent) and assaults (up eight per cent) are also worrying results.

Domestic violence related assault (down three per cent), commercial break-ins (down 15.5 per cent) and alcohol related assault (down 0.3 per cent) were the only falls.

Commander Matt Hollamby.

Commander Matt Hollamby.

The crime statistics were calculated for the past year until May 1.

Commander Hollamby said police continue to see reductions in the proportions of assaults that are associated with alcohol or domestic violence, though these factors still contribute to more than two-thirds of assaults in the area.

“Katherine continues to conduct proactive policing activities to reduce crime, in particular anti-social behaviour and assaults on persons, through Point Of Sale Interventions at local takeaway liquor outlets,” he said.

”Katherine police further recognise the importance of strengthening the relationship between the youth and local police.

“These improved relationships will not only reduce crime, but also importantly help youth to achieve more success within areas of education, health and social opportunities.

“Recently, a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design audit, which is an audit conducted to highlight improvements in areas to reduce crime around buildings and public places, was conducted with the Department of Education.

“This included discussions on local crime prevention initiatives to improve community safety and reduce opportunities for offending.”

He said the tourist season and local events including the Katherine Show are approaching and it was an opportune time to reinforce crime prevention messages including ‘lock it or lose it’.

“Ensure you secure your valuable items and reduce opportunistic crimes where offenders continue to enter through unlocked doors and help themselves to your property.

“Police across the region continue to target the illegal transportation of alcohol into restricted areas, and target known and repeat person and property offenders.

“The extensive and larger than average wet season across the Command has also resulted in extensive rainfall, road closures and environmental challenges for local communities and police across the Top End. Waters are receding and crocodile awareness should also be practiced in the Region.

“In Nhulunbuy, both person and property crime has reduced over the 12 month period to the lowest levels in the past six years.  Police will continue to engage with the community of Nhulunbuy to continue this long term crime reduction.”

There have been two more alleged murders since the statistics were calculated.