@ Local1 (Posted November 30, 2019 at 7:07 am): You …

Comment on Damien Ryan’s youth curfew dilemma by Alex Nelson.

@ Local1 (Posted November 30, 2019 at 7:07 am): You conclude your comment with this claim: “It was happening in the boom times of the 90s, but the town was not as deserted as it is now, people still went out and enjoyed Alice Springs then, people are more scared now I believe.”
So you say but it’s remarkable how rose-tinted some people’s memories become with the passage of time.
Here’s a few statements published in March 1990 following a three month consultation with businesses in the then still new full mall: “Todd Mall vandalism is costing Alice Springs traders thousands of dollars each year.
“Twenty five shops in the mall [in a week] reported having had windows broken.
“The Alice Springs newsagency alone said it had 80 windows broken in the last year. Graffiti was also a problem. Mall traders steering committee chairman Anthony Neck said vandalism was rife in the mall.
“Information I have received is that in the past 18 months almost every shop in the mall would have been vandalised, he said.
“It would be a conservative estimate to say at least one window is smashed in the mall every night.
“Mall trader Bruce Deans says he is fed up with his shops being vandalised and robbed. A garbage can was thrown through the front door [of his] shop on Monday night.
“The following night thieves jemmied the back door of the Springs Plaza and broke into his menswear store causing damage worth $1300 and stealing 20 pairs of jeans worth $1200.
[He] “fully supported a draft report prepared by the mall traders steering committee which among other things proposes day and night dog patrols in Todd Mall. He said mall traders were becoming frustrated over the situation.
“I just don’t know how long this can go on, he said. Mr Deans said his shop had been burgled five times this year [that is, by mid March].
“He said the problem is the mall itself. At night it’s spooky … nobody is around. It’s perfect for illegal activities.
[The report] “deals with the problems and issues concerning the mall’s present and long term viability.
“It slammed the security in the mall as disastrous. Prepared after three months of discussions the draft report paints a dark picture of the mall saying:
• Business premises are continually taking an intolerable barrage of vandalism;
• Tourists are harassed and intimidated during the day by drunks;
• an increase in assault, violence, robbery and rape makes the mall an undesirable place to visit especially at night.
“Mall traders have also called for the immediate upgrading of the lighting system in the mall. They want special security lights installed in vandal prone areas like the Old Alice Inn [Todd Tavern], the cinema and the Flynn Church.
“Calling the area between Parsons Street and Wills Terrace a ‘ghetto’ the report calls for its opening to traffic to deter vandalism. It recommends installing a security surveillance system to be operated by an independent security company” (Centralian Advocate, 16 March 1990).
That story (it wasn’t even front page) was reported nearly 30 years ago.
Since then we’ve got improved lighting, roller doors and shutters, extensive CCTV, and the “ghetto” from Parsons Street to Wills Terrace re-opened to traffic.
One would be forgiven for thinking all our problems have been solved.
The front page of that edition featured a report on crime in the suburbs: “A police telephone poll of Alice Springs residents has revealed an alarming rate of crime in the Eastside area.
“About one third of the 174 residents spoken to on the Eastside reported being burgled in the past three years. In one particular street every house on one side had been robbed.”
A fortnight later another front page story reported: “A leading Alice Springs car dealer has called for law courts to “get tough” with vandals after his Toyota dealership was the target of a mass attack this week.
“Peter Kittle Toyota’s used car division was targeted in a Sunday night rampage with more than half the fleet damaged.
“This is the worst that we’ve ever suffered, Mr Kittle said.
“The irate dealer shunned a Territory Government proposal which would make parents of juvenile offenders responsible for their children’s actions.
“The scheme might work for the average Joe Citizen but not for these little pricks, he said. I don’t think their parents have the money.”
The story goes on: “Windows on several cars were smashed, the office windows caved in, car bonnets damaged and other body panels on the fleet hit by rocks.
“Mr Kittle said it would take a month before the damage was fully repaired. He said at least one car dealership in Alice Springs was vandalised every fortnight” (Advocate, 6 April 1990).
In 1989 there were 11,000 cases of protective custody in Alice Springs for alcohol abuse; in 1990 it rose to 13,000 cases. The rate of murder occurred about once a month, with Alice Springs achieving the statistic of the most lethal town in the nation (the “murder capital of Australia” as we then became known).
Meanwhile, Mayor Leslie Oldfield supported a youth curfew based on the recent initiative of Port Augusta mayor, Joy Baluch. This idea was strongly resisted by Assistant Police Commissioner, Andy McNeill, who two years later defeated Oldfield to become mayor of Alice Springs.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Deloitte to close Alice Springs office
Erwin, the top floor was actually built at the request of the ABC as the building was originally intended to be two storeys.
The NT Tourist Commission was one of the early occupants of the building, along with the Housing Commission, too.
Thanks to Cyclone Tracy, the headquarters of the Tourist Commission was relocated there from Darwin, and remained in Alice Springs at various locations until 1992.

Council resignations and surprising alliances
@ Scotty (Posted June 30, 2020 at 4:45 pm): “By the way, Willshire was not found guilty of anything” – while in turn Lindy Chamberlain was found guilty.
History shows the decisions of courts are not sacrosanct; and in both examples, the findings were (at a minimum) miscarriages of justice.

Deloitte to close Alice Springs office
Looks like we’re going to have to change the name of the building from its current “Deloitte House”.
Ah well, it wouldn’t be setting a precedent – for many years it was called Sturt House but in fact was originally named “Stuart House” when the building was opened in 1973.
The first name didn’t last long and, although I haven’t sighted any documentary evidence, I suspect it was changed when it was realised there was already a “Stuart House” in town.
This was the still brand new south wing of the Melanka government hostel adjoining Stuart Terrace.
Well, poor old Melanka has long gone and Deloitte is leaving so maybe the original name of Stuart House can be restored.
Who says history is forgotten when we have site name changes?
[ED – Alex, we should have a party with the ABC. They used to occupy the top floor. And the Tourist Commission (yes, that’s the mob that actually knew how to promote The Centre) was on floor one or two.]

Council resignations and surprising alliances
Those who support this decision have provided their full names, those opposed (as I write) seem to be a little bit shy.

10 years for people recruiting kids to commit crimes
Given that we’re now two months out from the next NT polls, this media release masquerading as government policy can only be seen for what it is – the Gunner Labor Government’s law and order policy platform for the de facto election campaign that is already underway.
It is ridiculous for the Gunner Government to hark back to the previous CLP regime; for example, “Returning family responsibility agreements and orders that were previously scrapped by the CLP government”.
That’s now four years ago! I can’t see any initiative announced in this media release that couldn’t have been started well within this period, instead of waiting for the last minute to dangle them like carrots in front of the voting public, whom obviously the Gunner Government considers us all to be a herd of donkeys.
Surely there are enough of us in the community to see through such a cynical ploy; after all, this government has had a full term to come to grips with these issues.

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