Northern Territory Police have condemned an incident in Katherine overnight as '"completely unacceptable" after businesses were broken into and a car was reportedly seen driving erratically through the CDB, narrowly missing pedestrians.
It comes just over a week after two police cars were rammed on the main street of Katherine in what police called a "very concerning" social media trend among youth offenders in northern Australia.
NT Police are today investigating seven CBD break-ins, including the offices of Northern Territory Minister Selena Uibo and Federal Labor MP Marion Scrymgour.
In a statement released this afternoon, police said a car was stolen from one of the locations and "observed driving dangerously" in the early hours of the morning.
One witness, who wished to remain anonymous, told the ABC they saw the stolen car driving down the main street at a high speed "swerving towards people".
At this stage the police CCTV remains as evidence for the ongoing investigation and can't be released, a spokesman told the ABC.
Police say a tyre deflation device was set up in a bid to stop the vehicle, which was later located abandoned in Katherine East.
In a statement, Senior Sergeant Warren Scott said detectives were investigating the incident and had seized the vehicle for analysis.
"This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and Katherine police are working tirelessly to identify and hold the person's responsible accountable for their actions," he said.
'Policing and jail are not working'
Aboriginal Dalabon man Manuel Pamkal, a long-term Katherine resident who has recently amassed a massive following on the social media platform TikTok, says crime in Katherine has reached worrying levels.
Earlier this week he posted a video from Alice Springs in which he stated the system of "policing and jail are not working — it teaches young ones nothing".
Speaking to the ABC today, Mr Pamkal said he heard cars speeding dangerously around Katherine in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Pamkal has been working as a tour guide in the region for more than 10 years and says he worries that crime could provoke a negative public image for the town and drive down tourism.
"I teach tourists who come from all around the world, sharing my culture and stories and I don't want to see this town getting worse and worse," he said.
"We've got to do something. All of these young ones are wandering around.
"When I was a kid out bush I learned a lot from my mum and dad, but here in town … it's boring and there is nothing to do.
"Send them out bush where they can learn new things."
Rates of assaults, robberies, break-ins and property damage have all increased over the past five years in Katherine, according to the latest NT government crime statistics.
Recently, a network of legal services from Katherine, the Northern Territory Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions, jointly called on the federal government to invest in Justice Reinvestment — an emerging field in the Australian criminal justice landscape, which aims to redirect funds from the prison system to community led approaches to reducing crime.
The letter was sent to a tapestry of politicians including federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, and NT Minister for Police Kate Worden.
"Each of these services is committed to working towards a vision of a transformed justice system, in particular youth justice, with preventative and early intervention reducing incarceration," the letter states.
At a press conference in Darwin this morning, Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said she supported a new approach that reduces contact with the criminal system.
"We cannot continue in the Northern Territory by simply having a revolving door with our prisons," she said.
"People can enter for as short as a week, then be released with no meaningful impact to help them change their behaviour.
"We absolutely believe in Justice Reinvestment."