Victims of Crime NT Initiative Combating Crime with Lighting
Victims of Crime NT (VoCNT) provides funding for a variety of communities throughout the Northern Territory to support projects that help in the reduction and prevention of crime, contributing to making people in the community feel safer through the implementation of CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles.
An example of this is the Utju-Areyonga Community, in 2017 work was carried out to assist residents to improve their safety. Areyonga (pronounced arr-ee-yon-ga), known locally as Utju, is nestled in a spectacular valley in the western end of the MacDonnell Ranges, about 100km from Hermannsburg and 240km west of Alice Springs. Access is gained by road via Alice Springs, the road consists of both sealed (130km) and unsealed (90km) sections. In dry conditions the trip will take approximately 2.5 hours from Alice Springs, while during the wet season a four-wheel drive is necessary, with heavy rain forcing closure of the road, cutting off the community. Driving between dusk and dawn brings its own challenges as there are large populations of feral horses, donkeys, dogs and the occasional camel, as well as native kangaroos and dingoes all of which can be a significant road hazard.
The Areyonga community was established during the 1920s by the Pitjantatjara people. The Areyonga Council is responsible for the day to day management of the community and provide the essential services and infrastructure required. Despite being a relatively small population, it is a proud and vital community with its own store, community hall and a weekly air service. Utju is a dry township and no alcohol may be brought into the community. Despite this, alcohol related violence, domestic and family violence incidents occur, with break- ins and assaults not uncommon.
With consultation with the community and council, key areas were identified that were unsafe due to poor or non-existent lighting. It was determined that the installation of solar lighting would be advantageous generating less of a power drain on the limited available power supply. We contacted Green Frog Systems and consulted with their specialists to determine what type of lighting would be best suited for the project. A combination of motion sensor lights and street lights was decided upon. Two 50W street lights were to be installed at the entrance to the community and at the opposite end of the community where Sorry Camp is held. Another three 12W solar motion lights would be installed between the rear yards of several houses where no current lighting exited.
The Areyonga Council has a deliberate policy to limit outside contractors wherever possible with most of the service delivery performed by the locally recruited workforce, providing employment and learning/training opportunities for locals. With the support of the MacDonnell Regional Council installation of the lights began. As a result of this project, the Utju-Areyonga Community has seen a reduction in crime, with an increase in confidence of personal and community safety.
Victims of Crime NT strive to serve the needs of Territorians affected by crime, offering support, providing information and crisis counseling, along with referrals to other support services for any crime victim, past or present. They receive funding from the Northern Territory Government and rely on donations from the public and philanthropists. VoCNT provide a 24 hour a day Free-call number 1800 672 242, offering support services for Victims of Crime in the Northern Territory. With offices in Darwin and Alice Springs, VoCNT is able to service the needs of Territorians from townships to remote communities.
“The success of this project shows what is possible when, support services like VoCNT, local government and businesses such as Green Frog Systems work together. It is partnerships like this now and into the future that can drive creating safer communities for all.” – Jeffery Stanton, CEO Victims of Crime NT
Content kindly provided by Victims of Crime NT – https://www.victimsofcrime.org.au/