More than 130 people packed the Civic Hall on Sunday for a community meeting to tackle the ongoing youth crime issues in town.
The meeting was the brainchild of the BP Complex volunteer group leaders Linda Turner (LT) and Deb Cain with help from Trish and Norman Frank.
The Tennant Times spoke with LT this morning who said for the last two months the team of volunteers had made a real difference by standing vigil and warding the kids away from the 24-hour service station, bringing much relief to staff and customers over Friday and Saturday nights.
However, the late nights and early mornings have taken its toll on the volunteers and the youth are now starting get cheeky and swear at them.
“Three and a half thousand people live in this town,” said LT.
“If a group of 20 volunteers can make a difference, imagine what more than 100 can do?
“It’s not sustainable for us to keep up with this – we don’t have enough people for even a roster at the moment.
“That was one of the purposes of this meeting – to gather more volunteers and we had another 10 people sign up on the day.”
LT said every single resident in Tennant Creek is at risk of break-ins and the Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s recently announced measures would not be implemented soon enough.
“My house has been broken into and nearly again the other night,” she said.
“Nobody is the exception – these kids don’t give a damn about anybody or anything.
“There’s kids as young as six and seven walking around town in their school uniforms at 2-3am in the morning!
“We have identified these children and the next step we are planning is a community meeting with their families.”
The meeting started with a community conversation with attendees forming groups afterwards to brainstorm ideas which were collected and collated to be presented at another meeting to be held in the coming weeks.
Speakers included Barkly MLA Steve Edgington, The Mob Aboriginal Corporation’s Josephine Bethel, local business owner Steve Baldwin and Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation’s Dr Geoff Evans.
The meeting was a civilised affair with residents and interested stakeholders focused simply on solutions.
The fear of residents was evident as some raised concerns their homes would be broken into while they were attending the meeting.
Barkly MLA Steve Edgington said the Gunner Government has had four and half years to put in place some real measures to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in Tennant Creek but failed to do so.
“This meeting was a great opportunity for the community to come together to find some real community-based solutions to these problems,” he said.
This article appeared in the Tennant & District Times, 1 April 2021.