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Calls for the federal government to become involved in addressing the high levels of violent crime in Alice Springs have intensified in recent weeks. The town’s mayor, Matt Paterson, has expressed his frustration on social media, stating that he has run out of words to describe the situation. Both state and federal MPs have also spoken out about the issue, with shadow minister for Indigenous Australians, Jacinta Price, calling for the deployment of the defence force to maintain order. Federal Labor MP for the Alice Springs electorate of Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour, has also stressed the need for additional resources to tackle crime in the area.

In terms of what the federal government could do to address the situation in Alice Springs, one possible option is to deploy defence force or Australian Federal Police personnel to assist local authorities. However, this would require cooperation with the NT government, as most policing and public safety measures fall under the jurisdiction of the territory government. Last year’s federal budget allocated $250 million to improve social outcomes, safety, and schooling in central Australia through community-led programs, indicating a willingness to address the issues facing the region.

The high crime rates in Alice Springs can be attributed to a combination of factors, including widespread alcohol abuse, chronic social disadvantage, and intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities. The town has struggled with a long-standing crime problem, with periodic spikes in street violence and theft leading to calls for federal intervention. While crime rates did reach a four-year low in 2023 after limited bans on alcohol sales were re-introduced, they still remain high by national standards. This ongoing issue has prompted calls for additional resources and tougher laws to address the root causes of criminal activity in the area.

The situation in Alice Springs has prompted widespread concern and calls for action across political lines. Mayor Matt Paterson’s plea for help underscores the urgent need for intervention to address the town’s crime problem. Senator Jacinta Price’s suggestion to deploy the defence force highlights the severity of the situation and the need for a coordinated response from both federal and territory governments. The federal government’s allocation of funds in the last budget indicates a recognition of the need to invest in community-led programs to improve social outcomes and safety in central Australia.

As discussions continue on how best to address the high levels of violent crime in Alice Springs, it is clear that a multi-faceted approach will be needed. Addressing issues such as alcohol abuse, social disadvantage, and intergenerational trauma will require a coordinated effort between federal, state, and local authorities. The calls for federal intervention highlight the seriousness of the situation and the need for a comprehensive strategy to tackle the root causes of crime in the area. By working together and committing resources to support community-led initiatives, there is hope for a brighter future for Alice Springs and its residents.

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