A ram raid, vehicle thefts and a suspicious fire have left the NT’s peak employer lobby concerned that crime is “starting to pick up again” in Alice Springs.
- At least three cars were stolen and used in a series of property crimes
- Emergency services responded to a house fire that was deemed suspicious
- The Chamber of Commerce NT is concerned crime rates are increasing
NT Police responded to reports of two stolen dual-cab utes being driven erratically around town on Sunday evening and early Monday morning.
Southern Watch Commander Allan Milner said the vehicles were stolen after a break-in at a depot in the industrial area.
“We were out following them around,” he said.
“One of those vehicles was actually recovered after it crashed into a stationary trailer, I believe in Gillen.”
He said the other vehicle was yet to be found and no arrests had been made.
Senior Sergeant Milner said emergency services also responded to a suspicious house fire on Bruce Street in Gillen about 10:20pm on Sunday.
“When the fire officers and police attended, it was fully involved, and it was deemed suspicious and will be investigated by our southern investigations division,” he said.
He said the house was believed to be vacant, but was known to have occasional occupants.
“I think we were extremely lucky, part of the yard did go up, but we were extremely lucky that the firies got there on time,” Senior Sergeant Milner said.
Stolen vehicle used in ram raid
It came after another vehicle was stolen from an office building on the North Stuart Highway on Saturday night and used in what police allege was a series of related crimes.
“That vehicle was … used to ram raid [IGA] Northside and then make its way into town,” Senior Sergeant Milner said.
“They were riding along the car park footpath out the front of Pizza Hut, causing major damage to the structure itself.”
He said three people were arrested.
“One had to be released because of his age or her age, and the other two were processed,” he said.
“One was released because he was eligible for youth diversion.”
Senior Sergeant Milner said there had been more youths “than usual” in the CBD.
“We’ve also got royalty money out there at the moment, so you’ve got a lot of alcohol purchasing,” he said.
“And a couple of nights ago, there were about 100 people on the [Alice Springs Hospital lawns], believed to be gambling.”
Chamber of Commerce NT acting chief executive Nicole Walsh said after some reprieve in Alice Springs, it appeared criminal activity was again increasing.
“When I was leaving last weekend, we were getting that sense, as a chamber, that things are really starting to pick up again even further,” she said.
“We have requested a meeting with the Chief Minister this week, just to get an understanding, and we’re meeting with the police as well.”
Ms Walsh said retailers were reconsidering their opening hours.
“I think the bigger retail companies are absolutely pushing back with their safety,” she said.
“We’ve seen some of the retail stores, like the major supermarkets, starting to close their doors earlier.
“It’s not just Alice Springs, from what we’re understanding it’s some other regionals, probably because of several different things, including safety as well.”
It comes after a bottle shop worker was stabbed to death in Darwin’s northern suburbs, with thousands of protesters gathering in the city at the weekend, calling for immediate action to halt rising crime rates.