I wonder how many of the 84% of NT News respondents who think NT courts are too soft on criminals are aware of any of the following indisputable facts:
- NT judges and magistrates are tougher on crime than other states and territories. The NT has an imprisonment rate almost 4 times higher than the Australian average, while the crime rate per head for both property and violent crimes is around twice the national average.
- We have many more police per head of population than any other jurisdiction.
- Crime rates for property crime actually rose while mandatory sentencing was in force for those offences up to 2001 (although that’s probably a coincidence).
- Crime rates have fallen in most categories of property crime over the last 5 years, while robberies and assaults have risen significantly and homicides and sexual assaults have remained about the same.
- The Territory has higher crime rates overall than other parts of Australia because we have a much younger population, many more indigenous residents, a much higher population suffering significant socio-economic disadvantage, and much higher levels of alcohol consumption. All but the last of those factors is almost completely beyond the control of any Territory government irrespective of what actions it may choose to take.