Tackling Youth Crime to Make Alice Springs Safer: Breaking the Cycle Plan Released

The Territory Labor Government today released the Breaking the Cycle plan to continue tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour in Alice Springs.

The centrepiece of the Plan is the creation of seven new Youth Engagement Night Officers (YENOs) who will engage with at-risk young people on the street, seven days a week.

Breaking the Cycle includes seven initiatives to target at-risk young people to get them onto a better path and away from a lifetime of crime. Initiatives include:

  • Appoint seven Youth Engagement Night Officers (YENOs) to work seven days a week from 8pm-3am with young people who are on the street (and regularly involved in crime) and get them on a better path. YENOs will support NT Police, Territory Families and non-government youth services.
  • Expand the youth drop-in centres at Gap Youth and Community Centre and Tangentyere Council Brown Street to operate seven days a week (currently both operate five days) and extend their bus service.
  • Expand the hours of the Tangentyere Night Patrol to get young people off the streets. Patrol vehicles will run seven days a week from 6pm-3am.
  • Create an Aboriginal-led Youth Outreach Service. A team of senior, respected Aboriginal outreach workers will provide advice and support to youth engagement officers and mentor Aboriginal youth, drawing on the cultural authority of the Tangentyere Council Mens Four Corners Group and Tangentyere Womens Family Safety Group.
  • More mobile CCTV cameras in anti-social behaviour hotspots.
  • Two School Engagement Officers to work with young people who have been identified as being disengaged from schooling. These officers have been appointed.
  • Three School Compliance Officers to work with young people when attempts to increase school attendance has not been successful. These officers have been appointed.

The seven new measures continue the Territory Labor Governments plans to cut crime and anti-social behaviour through generational change by investing in preventative measures such as education, health and housing; a massive boost to frontline police numbers; the most significant alcohol reforms on record; reforming the broken youth justice system, and an updated Victims Charter that puts victims first.

A range of cross agency efforts to tackle youth crime in Alice Springs have also been introduced, including:

  • The Alice Springs Interagency Case Management Group (ICMG) with staff from Territory Families, NT Police, and the Department of Education to focus on 30 young people (and their families) to ensure issues causing bad behaviour are identified and tackled to reduce the likelihood of future offending or reoffending.
  • A cross agency youth outreach response to engage with and respond to young people frequenting the streets late at night
  • Operation Cradle, an action plan between NT Police, Territory Families and youth service providers to work together to reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour during the school holidays;
  • Operation Marsh was recently launched in Alice Springs by NT Police, the Department of Education, Territory Families and Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development. Police will conduct increasing overt and covert targeted police patrols in areas frequented by property offenders and work closely with other agencies in the case management of offenders.
  • School-based policing, with a more flexible approach than the previous school policing program, to provide more flexibility to target at risk youth. The program focuses on positive youth engagement and delivery of vital safety education.
  • $1.75 million each year for youth activities in Alice Springs for after hours and during school holidays.
  • The $5 million Back on Track program provides an alternative to detention and alternative pathways to divert young people away from the youth justice system. Offenders must take responsibility for their actions and give back to the community to repair the harm they have caused.
  • Funding 10 non-government organisations to provide youth diversion services across 48 locations throughout the Territory, including restorative justice conferences where the young offender and the victim are present.
  • Government-funded nightly security patrols conducted by Talice Security throughout the Alice Springs CBD.

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