Crime, vandalism huge worry for business

p2424 ice springs

 

A pointed example of vandalism, as reported by the ABC on October 15, 2015.

 

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

More than 70% of respondents to an on-line survey by the Chamber of Commerce claim to have been a victim of crime and vandalism within the last 12 months, says acting CEO Brian O’Gallagher.

 

Invitations to participate in the survey were sent out to all 1300 members of the chamber, and a “resounding” 400 responded.

 

About 20% were from Alice Springs. It was clear the crime situation is more or less equally bad in the urban centres, Mr O’Gallagher says. The normal response to surveys by the chamber is from 50 to 100.

 

People responding reported mostly break-ins, attempted break-ins, damage to property and stolen goods.

 

“This confirms that the issue is real and not a so-called media beat up,” says Mr O’Gallagher. Damages and loss of earnings ranged from around $1000 to more than $150,000.

 

“Significant impacts also related to personal stress, businesses having to close to make the necessary repairs and a loss of business confidence.

 

“Other impacts personally raised by some businesses included the impact on tourism – with guests feeling unsafe, nervous staff members both in the workplace and when leaving work at night and the boarding up of windows and doors to deter criminals lessening the appearance of many shop fronts.”

 

Mr O’Gallagher says more than 85% of participants said they reported the crime, with only 20% stating that they knew the offenders were found or prosecuted.

 

“Of great concern is that many businesses don’t see the any value in claiming insurance – with almost 65% indicating they don’t lodge a claim because of the worry of increased insurance premiums or that their excess is so high it is not worth making a claim.”

 

The chamber will share these results directly with the Chief Minister Michael Gunner and his Ministerial and Parliamentary colleagues, and with the Police Commissioner and other relevant agency CEOs.

 

There is a strong perception that the victims of crime are being ignored by the judicial system, and that repeat offenders suffer little consequences, he says, which makes it hard to support the claim that the NT is a “great place to do business”.

 

Mr O’Gallagher quotes some respondents in a media release:-

 

• The person who does the crime should be made to work in that business to pay the debt [and] get an understanding of the business.

 

• A squad of youth police needs to be active 24/7 as I see groups of 12 to 30 youths coming into the CBD between midnight and 7am almost on a daily basis.

 

• Instead of detention or prison [we] should consider enforced public service such as national service. Being sentenced to education and training over multiple years will break the cycle. These kids want security, discipline and a future.

 

•  If the offender is a minor, the parents should be partly responsible for their kid’s actions.

 

•  Offenders should be put into six months detention with no contact with family.

 

• We run our business from home and now sleep with keys under my pillow and a baseball bat within reach.

 

•  We are losing the desire to maintain the premises as it feels like a losing battle.

 

• We do not want to re-invest in the business as heavily due to the risk of vandalism ruining new assets.

 

•  Our windows are now boarded up. We got sick of replacing glass.

 

 

 

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