Alice Springs
People under the age of 19 are restricted from entering the Alice Springs' CBD between 6am and 6pm. Image by Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS
  • crime, law and justice

Curfew fails to wipe out youth crime wave in red centre

March 29, 2024

Alice Springs continues to be hit by youth crime days after an emergency curfew was slapped on the under-siege central Australian town. 

Several youths allegedly burgled a house on Thursday night, armed with a weapon and screwdriver, Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said.

“We have a team of detectives on that and we have some good footage identifying everyone else involved so we’re expecting some quick action on that,” he said. 

Mr Murphy said police received reports a camping stall was broken into by youths about 5am on Friday.

NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy
 Commissioner Michael Murphy says there has been some positive changes since a curfew was called.
Image by Neve Brissenden/AAP PHOTOS

Chaos descended on the red centre town on Tuesday afternoon when a large group attacked the Todd Tavern, leaving a $30,000 damage bill, as tensions escalated between families following the death of a teenager.

Brawls continued later in the evening as family members mourned the death, with up to 150 people clashing in town camps.

Arrests were made and more than 50 weapons were seized including spears, axes and clubs.

In response, a curfew was declared, barring anyone under the age of 19 entering Alice Springs’ CBD between 6pm and 6am.

Mr Murphy said the move had made some positive changes. 

“This emergency situation and the action that has been undertaken has generated some positive discussion for a number of partners in the Alice Springs community, Central Australia and actually the nation,” he said. 

Chief Minister Eva Lawler on Wednesday made an emergency declaration for Alice Springs, enforcing the curfew and deployed an extra 58 police officers to the town.

A group of government and police officials travelled to Alice Springs on Thursday to oversee the new emergency powers.

A temporary curfew was backed by the federal government, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese calling it “a sensible move”.

Alice Springs Police Station
 NT police are confident they can ensure public safety in Alice Springs. Image by Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS 

“All Australians will be concerned by the scenes that we have seen,” Mr Albanese told reporters on Thursday.

Rising tensions in the desert town were inflamed by the death of an 18-year-old in a fatal car accident in early March.

He died after hanging out of the window of a stolen car that rolled over in the Alice Springs CBD.

The youth was crushed and killed by the vehicle and left there by the driver and passengers.

Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who is from Alice Springs, called on the government to send in the Australian Defence Force.

Mr Murphy said there was no need for extra federal assistance.

“Northern Territory police are more than capable of delivering public safety services to the community, and we will prove that,” he said on Thursday.