The irony is that Alice Springs is considerably safer now …

Comment on Alice singled out in German Foreign Office travel warning by Alex Nelson.

The irony is that Alice Springs is considerably safer now than it was in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, most particularly in the period of 1989-91 when the Alice gained the dubious distinction as the “Murder Capital of Australia”. There were 11 homicides in the Alice in 1990, which worked out statistically as 48 murders per 100,000 (nationally it was 2 per 100,000). A similar situation existed in 1995, when Deputy ATSIC Commissioner Charles Perkins publicly noted there had been 12 murders in 11 months in Alice Springs.
In 1991, according to Mayor Andy McNeill (as reported in 1994), there were over 13,000 cases of protective custody cases recorded for Alice Springs alone; equating to over 55 per cent of the (then) resident population being found drunk on the streets at least once per year. That’s the highest figure I’ve found so far in the history of Alice Springs.
A decade later the figures had plunged by comparison but the year 2001-02 was another peak for protective custody cases, numbering 7813. That calculates to the equivalent of 27.7 per cent of the town’s population being found drunk on the streets at least once per year.
I don’t know what the recent figures are but what I can say with assurance is that the current law enforcement program being implemented in Alice Springs is the most effective I’ve ever witnessed (I’ve lived in Central Australia almost 50 years, and been resident within Alice Springs for the majority of time since 1989).
It is not true for anyone to claim that the current crime situation (which is still a serious problem) is the worst it’s ever been; a claim that has been made by a number of prominent individuals in this town in recent years.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Alice singled out in German Foreign Office travel warning
Following on from Hal Duell’s comment, in yet another example of how history repeats in Alice Springs, I remind everyone of the case of two young German women in 1988 who unwisely accepted a lift just south of Heavitree Gap who were pack-raped by a gang of young men. This case went to court early in 1990, and the perpetrators of this vicious crime received quite light sentences which prompted uproar from the public and an appeal against the sentences by the NT Government. The victims even went public in the local media, such was their disappointment with the way their case was handled. It generated a lot of adverse publicity for Alice Springs, which also coincided with a period of stagnant economic growth and a severe downturn in tourism.
Nevertheless, the record shows that the tourism industry in Central Australia boomed right throughout that period of the 1970s and ’80s when crime rates were also sharply increasing. The local tourism industry is influenced far more by other extraneous factors than a poor local reputation for crime. All the same, if a permanent reduction in the level of crime and anti-social problems in Alice Springs can be achieved, that surely would be of great benefit to all of us, locals and visitors alike.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Why aren’t people listening to us? 
@ Kevin (Posted September 25, 2018 at 9:58 pm): It was the local rugby league that fought to stay at Anzac Oval in 1979-81 – in fact, it even attracted the support of national sports publication Rugby League Week which came in swinging against the Alice Springs Town Council.
The local ALP also fought to keep rugby league at Anzac Oval, especially John Reeves which enabled him to win a town council by-election and subsequently the federal election campaign as Member for the Northern Territory.
In the mid 1990s, rugby league agreed to move to Ross Park Oval where rugby union was based, too. However, after the town council elections of 1996 when two sitting aldermen lost their seats over this issue, the decision was swiftly reversed by the new council and rugby union went to Anzac Oval.
The Eastside Residents Association had strong support from local CLP members Richard Lim and Eric Poole. Lim organised a large public rally against the town council; and Poole, the Minister for Central Australian Affairs, declared that no funds from the NT Government would be made available to assist the town council’s plans.
The ALP Opposition Leader, Brian Ede, also supported the Eastside Residents Association in its dispute with the town council.


Why aren’t people listening to us? 
I attended the public rally held on the lawn outside the Civic Centre but initially wasn’t going to stay for the council meeting. I changed my mind and am glad I did, for a good deal of what I heard last night was a revelation to me.
My position on this issue is obvious but it was most reassuring to hear the strong opinions voiced by many people who made it clear and unequivocal that the NT Government – and whoever it is that has persuaded the government – has got this issue well and truly wrong.
This is the third attempt in four decades to repurpose the use of Anzac Oval as a “village green” cum open space, and relocate rugby to another oval.
Both previous attempts were made by the Alice Springs Town Council.
In 1979-81, rugby league was going to be moved to the new Head Street (Rhonda Diano) Oval; and in 1994-96 there was a protracted struggle between the town council and the Eastside Residents Association (of which I was a member) over relocating rugby league to Ross Park Oval.
On both occasions there was overwhelming public opposition to the town council’s plans, and the council lost.
Now it’s the turn of the NT Government attempting the same arrogant approach – well, all that the government has succeeded in doing is to stir up the hornets’ nest once more.
History convincingly shows how this struggle will end.


Preaching ‘treading carefully’ then sending in the bulldozers
@ Russell Grant (Posted September 24, 2018 at 11:00 pm): Quite so, Russell, and that area included the property of the Arid Zone Research Institute of which the area now occupied by Kilgariff was once a part.
The original dust control effort at AZRI was divided between the Soil Conservation Unit of the former Conservation Commission of the NT and the Institute’s farm management of the Primary Industry Branch/Department. It was the farm management of AZRI that undertook the dust control work in the southwest area of the property, including Kilgariff.
What’s happening there now is taxpayer-funded, government sanctioned vandalism on a grand scale that beggars anything we’ve seen (and criticised) for years on private rural properties.
The hypocrisy of contemporary NT government policy implementation is simply staggering.


‘Save Anzac Oval’ motion defeated
The current government continuously attempts to mask or deflect attention of its ineptitude by making constant reference to the previous CLP regime. It doesn’t wash – it’s just business as usual, regardless of which party is in power.
Right now there is significant evidence across the nation of most people fundamentally disillusioned with government at all levels, party politics, and (most worrisome) even with democracy. The behaviour we’re witnessing from the NT Government now (and from its predecessors) amply illustrates why this is happening.
Most people have had enough. Large numbers in parliament will not provide sufficient buffers against voter anger anymore.


Town planning farce: Lawler dodges the hard questions
This encounter instantly reminded me of a passage in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” when Winston Smith followed an old man into a pub with the intention of finding out from him what life was like before the revolution that led to the rise of Big Brother.
Yet no matter how earnestly he asked the old man to recall the early years of his life, “Winston had the feeling they were talking at cross-purposes.”
He kept on prodding the old man for information but “a sense of helplessness took hold of Winston. The old man’s memory was nothing but a rubbish-heap of details. One could question him all day without getting any real information.”
Plying the old man with beer, he tried one more time but failed: “Winston sat back against the window sill. It was no use going on. He was about to buy some more beer when the old man suddenly got up and shuffled rapidly into the stinking urinal at the side of the room. The extra half-litre was already working on him. Winston sat for a minute or two gazing at his empty glass, and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out into the street again.”
Welcome to the Big Brother reality of honest accountable government in the Northern Territory!


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