Some Katherine residents say they are constantly living in fear.
They claim to be prisoners in their own homes because of a rise of crime in the town.
“Katherine is not a very nice place to live in any more,” Katherine East resident Joan McDonnell said.
“We would get up and leave but we have family still here.”
Katherine Times has this week spoken to residents, police and Katherine Town Council about the issue for a series of stories were are posting each night for the next week.
Mrs McDonnell and a group of her neighbours were part of a delegation to express their fears to Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson this week.
The sickening assault on Bevan Gitsham late last month inside his own home has only served to increase their fears.
Mr Gitsham, aged 79, was sitting inside his own home in Katherine East when struck repeatedly in the head with a stick by an unknown assailant on October 29.
The Gitshams took part in the delegation to see Ms Nelson.
“The level of community support for Bevan and I has been humbling and reassuring,” Yvonne Gitsham said this week.
“People are telling us this is a town-wide issue, everyone feels the same.”
The long-time residents say they have lost their enjoyment of living in the town.
They say they lock windows and doors at all times and even take it in turns to wake during the night to check for intruders.
“We are prisoners in our own homes,” Mrs McDonnell said.
“We turn the air-con off at night so we can hear better if there’s someone trying to break in.”
“I have to garden now with the keys in the my pocket,” Dorothy Sing said.
“I lock all the doors behind me when I go out in the garden, so remembering the keys is a big one now.
“We all seal up our homes, we’ve had to change our way of living.
“We had to do this way before Bevan’s assault, this has been getting worse for years.”
All the residents agree residents are now turning to owning more dogs as added security, and wandering dogs cause problems of their own.
The residents say they are also wary about venturing into town for shopping, and don’t go on their own, or at night.
They say Katherine’s problems have grown worse over the past three years.
They have asked for better controls on tenants living in public housing units.
They also agree the root cause of the problems is alcohol.
They want alley-ways, or escape routes as they call them, closed town-wise.
“People have to be held responsible for their actions,” Mrs Sing said.
“Courts need to take a harder line.
“It must be so frustrating for police who we know are doing their job only to see the same people straight out on the streets committing the same offences again.”
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