Faced with no end in sight for its ongoing crime crisis, residents of Alice Springs are being encouraged to again take free self-defense courses to protect themselves as they go about their daily lives in the town.
The sessions come as Mayor Matt Paterson last week called on the NT Government to provide a “circuit breaker” on the out-of-control crime levels that has seen residents terrified to sleep at night and venture outside of their homes.
“We talk about businesses being broken into, but what’s also happening is that people are breaking into children’s rooms,” he told Mix 104.9 last Thursday. “Adults are waking up when there’s kids standing over their children’s beds. It’s pretty scary.
“It’s not just the financial burden anymore, it’s the fear of people going to bed and not knowing if their kids are going to be safe. It’s wearing thin for their mental health.”
Neighbourhood Watch NT has partnered with Victims of Crime NT and Alice Springs to host the “personal safety sessions” which the groups said would help Alice residents “to be and feel safer”.
Neighbourhood Watch spokeswoman Veronica Larson said the safety sessions would increase residents’ knowledge of best-practice safety advice with practical strategies for a range of situations. The course was also offered last October.
“The sessions provide participants with a greater understanding of personal protective strategies, increased confidence to manage their safety in a range of situations and an improved network of support comprising of fellow participants and community organisations,” she said.
“The feedback we receive from participants is always very positive, with four in five attesting that after completing the session they felt either ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat safer’ and would recommend these sessions to others.”
Mr Paterson said the NT Government needed to find a short-term solution to provide the community with a break from the constant fear.
“I think the whole community understands there’s generational issues … but we certainly need a short term solution,” he said.
“This is happening every single day and every single night.
“There needs to be consequences for their [the offenders’] actions. The community is fed up.”
Former police minister Nicole Manison had failed to acknowledge there was a crime problem in Alice Springs, offering motherhood statements about “no silver bullet” and continuing to “work hard” to fight crime during visits to the town. She was on Monday dumped from the portfolio, with Kate Worden taking over as Police Minister.
Mr Paterson said a discussion he had with new Chief Minister Natasha Fyles last week had been promising.
“I just want to see some change,” he said. “I had a good discussion with the Chief Minister the other day and I’ll absolutely take her at face value that it is a priority of hers.”
The public safety session will be held on Friday May 27, at 9:30am at the 50s Plus Centre. More info is available by calling Neighbourhood Watch NT on 0437 996 198 or email at [email protected]