Crime rates in Katherine have reached alarming levels, according to the latest police statistics.
Breaking and stealing from shops and homes in Katherine has reached an unwanted record.
Break-ins on town shops have risen a remarkable 167 per cent in the past year.
According to police, there were 275 commercial break-ins in the past year (to the end of November 2018) – that’s about six a week.
Shopkeepers have told Katherine Times they are at their wit’s end trying to stop the break-ins.
Some have said their insurance companies will no longer pay for window and door repairs because of the high number of claims.
Some shops have been broken into repeatedly to reach such a number.
House break-ins are on the rise as well.
Most crime categories have risen in the latest statistics, other than motor vehicle theft and sex assault (down by one case).
The monthly release of crime statistics is traditionally accompanied by a statement by our local police commander, in this case the newly installed Michael Hebb.
In Commander Hebb’s statement he did not comment on the startling rise in break-ins.
He instead chose to focus on the number of motor vehicle thefts and related offences in Katherine as being down 17 per cent when compared to the same period in 2017.
He welcomed the arrival of the new liquor inspectors and said efforts were being made to reduce alcohol related assault offences, which have increased 24 per cent in the past year.
Members of the public are encouraged to continue to report all crimes and suspicious behaviour, including the secondary supply of alcohol, via 000 if the matter is urgent or 131 444. Callers to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 can remain anonymous.
Acting Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Eva Lawler said: “Every Territorian deserves to be safe and that’s why we are undertaking the biggest crackdown on alcohol fuelled crime in Territory history.
“The first Police Auxiliary Licensing Inspectors (PALI’s) have started in Katherine and more are on the way. There will be 22 in total and they will help stop alcohol fuelled crime and antisocial behavuour as they have done in Alice Springs.
“We are delivering 120 extra police across the Territory – the CLP promised this but never delivered.
“There has not been a budget cut to police and these false CLP claims again show they cannot be trusted. In fact the current police budget is $30million more than what the former chaotic CLP allocated them.
“We will continue to tackle these issues by putting more police on the beat with better resources, to make intelligence-led and evidence based decisions.
“A lot of the time, property crime is opportunistic, we continue to educate the business community on the importance of adequate security for their business.
“Our Biz Secure and Alcohol Secure programs provide financial support to make a range of permanent security improvements to better protect businesses against the risk of break-ins.
“To date our Biz Secure program has approved over 330 applications from business owners wanting to update their security – with over $1.6million in grants approved.”
Katherine’s unenviable crime record was seized on by NT Opposition leader Gary Higgins today who claimed the Government’s poorly executed policies have failed to make any discernible difference.
“Break-ins are strikingly higher across the territory, with Katherine hit worst with a 167 per cent increase in commercial break-ins and Tennant Creek and Alice Springs experiencing rises in house-break ins of 92 per cent and 63 per cent respectively,” Mr Higgins said.
“For Palmerston, the weekend’s fracas came on top of the latest crime statistics which show commercial break-ins are up by a massive 42 percent year-on-year.
“But no matter what the statistics say, we’re always ultimately concerned for the victims. There have been too many break-ins, too much vandalism, too many thefts, too much criminal damage – way too much crime across the Territory.
“Labor brags about its so-called initiatives and insists they are working. Try telling that to the shop keeper or restaurant owner who has been vandalised for the umpteenth time. Try explaining that to the kid who has his bike stolen from his home by some low life.
“Enough is enough.
“Government needs to hold young offenders accountable and make their parents and carers a part of the solution. They should be attending court with their children and courts should have the discretion to order parents/carers to oversee and ensure young offenders successfully complete practical training programs.
“There needs to be increased police visibility on our streets and they need to be questioning kids that are out and about late at night.
“And there needs to be stronger consequences with young offenders paying their debt to the community by performing public service (cleaning up neighbourhoods, repainting vandalism, clearing away broken glass).
“Diversion needs to be strengthened and actually divert offenders – boot camps should be used which include job training and work experience.”
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