The NT Government's latest plan to tackle youth crime in Alice Springs involves using a new team of youth workers to work the streets at night.
Seven new Youth Engagement Night Officers "will engage with at-risk young people on the street, seven days a week".
The new "breaking the cycle plan" was launched today.
The government will also pay private security firms to patrol the Alice Springs CBD during the night, it was revealed today.
A similar response to youth crime has already been launched in Palmerston.
The Katherine Times has asked whether Katherine is also being considered for the new strategy and is awaiting a response.
Like other NT communities, Katherine is being plagued by youth crime with shop break-ins rising by more than 200 per cent in the past year.
The seven initiatives for Alice Springs include:
The seven youth workers are to patrol the streets seven days a week from 8pm-3am.
Called YENOs, their job will be to speak with young people who are on the street (and regularly involved in crime) and "get them on a better path".
YENOs will support NT Police, Territory Families and non-government youth services.
Expand the youth drop-in centres at Gap Youth and Community Centre and Tangentyere Council Brown Street to operate seven days a week (currently both operate five days) and extend their bus service.
Expand the hours of the Tangentyere Night Patrol to get young people off the streets. Patrol vehicles will run seven days a week from 6pm-3am.
Create an Aboriginal-led Youth Outreach Service. A team of senior, respected Aboriginal outreach workers will provide advice and support to youth engagement officers and mentor Aboriginal youth, drawing on the cultural authority of the Tangentyere Council Men’s Four Corners Group and Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group.
More mobile CCTV cameras in anti-social behaviour hotspots.
Two School Engagement Officers to work with young people who have been identified as being disengaged from schooling. These officers have been appointed.
Three School Compliance Officers to work with young people when attempts to increase school attendance has not been successful. These officers have been appointed.
A range of cross agency efforts to tackle youth crime in Alice Springs have also been introduced, including:
The Alice Springs Interagency Case Management Group (ICMG) with staff from Territory Families, NT Police, and the Department of Education to focus on 30 young people (and their families) to ensure issues causing bad behaviour are identified and tackled to reduce the likelihood of future offending or reoffending.
A cross agency youth outreach response to engage with and respond to young people frequenting the streets late at night
Operation Cradle, an action plan between NT Police, Territory Families and youth service providers to work together to reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour during the school holidays;
Operation Marsh was recently launched in Alice Springs by NT Police, the Department of Education, Territory Families and Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development. Police will conduct increasing overt and covert targeted police patrols in areas frequented by property offenders and work closely with other agencies in the case management of offenders.
School-based policing, with a more flexible approach than the previous school policing program, to provide more flexibility to target at risk youth. The program focuses on positive youth engagement and delivery of vital safety education.
$1.75 million each year for youth activities in Alice Springs for after hours and during school holidays.
The $5 million Back on Track program provides an alternative to detention and alternative pathways to divert young people away from the youth justice system. Offenders must take responsibility for their actions and give back to the community to repair the harm they have caused.
Funding 10 non-government organisations to provide youth diversion services across 48 locations throughout the Territory, including restorative justice conferences where the young offender and the victim are present.
Territory Families Minister Dale Wakefield said: “Young people who do the wrong thing must face the consequences of their actions, because all Territorians have the right to be safe.
“The Breaking the Cycle plan in Alice Springs will make our community safer through a comprehensive range of new measures, that will work alongside crime prevention initiatives that we already have in place.
“We are listening to the people of Alice Springs who have had enough of youth crime and anti-social behaviour. This plan gives us a better chance at breaking the cycle of youth crime by targeting at-risk young people before they commit a crime, as well as consequences for unacceptable behaviour.”
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