Darwin and the northern suburbs have experience a statistical 15% increase in property crime over the last 12 months. However the number of assaults is down. The Property crime increase has been experience by both residential and commercial premises and has been reported as due mainly to youth crime.
Youth crime is mainly a crime of opportunity and in such this is where the needs and wants of the public are being immediately impacted by a social program that hasn’t been implemented properly. Currently kids of school age are able to ride the buses for free. This is both during and outside school hours. The most common form or transport used by youth committing such crimes is not Bicycle a stolen vehicle but our friendly and comfortable Bus service.
The use of the Darwin Bus Service as a form of transport to and from crime scenes is well known to both police and the legal system and the most obvious implementation of restrictions on travel seem to be raise conflicts from the same groups that they are trying to help.
First and foremost the following facts and opinions need to be acknowledged
Running away from home - If a child that decides to run away from home can’t catch a bus that is a good thing. Children generally flee due to conflict, however most conflicts are a natural part of the process of growing up and are mainly verbal in nature. If the Child can just jump on a bus to another location then there is an increase of the chance of foul play.
Youth Discipline – The current system isn’t working effectively. How can the Community support a parent/s right to discipline a child if they also advocate for the ability for the child to abscond from their responsibilities by providing free access to travel.
Youth welfare – I have consistently had to call police and welfare groups in the past due to children as young as 6, consistently running away from their carers using the public transport system as their means of travel.
Extra Bus driver responsibilities - The Bus drivers are not allowed to refuse them access due to policies but the drivers are extremely responsible and contact either Transit safety officer, security etc in order to maintain a form of public welfare for the said children. This provides additional stress and anxiety on an employee who is in essence responsible for generally upto and above 50 people per trip.
Child passengers outside school hours is increasing - The number of smaller and younger children using this service is increasing regularly and providing moral, legal and ethical Dilemma’s for the Drivers and those in safety and Security.
Increased school absenteeism - The implementation of a School pass that lets the Bus driver know that the child/children are not absconding from their educational responsibilities is a must. It is a constant issue that leads to greater social and mental health issues and a huge cost on society.
Free travel for children is a new scheme, not old, maybe we need to tweak it - Children have previously had to pay for bus travel in Darwin from school age since I was a kid, I’m 40 so it isn’t rocket science to bring back the practice outside of School hours.
The cost vs benefit - The costs to society are too much! Not only is a reduction of public welfare, discipline and an increase in crime rate a massive burden on society, the current program costs the government between $1 Million to $1.2 Million dollars a year. The implementation of paid fairs outside school hours could reduce that cost by more than half and have a massive impact on the safety and security of the community.
Council programs are being asphyxiated by the costs to both the public and businesses with constant resources being spent to deal with vandalism and property crime.
Free School buses would be feasible from 7am to 3.30pm based on conversations with parents and Drivers.
I am not advocating cutting the social program in place, I believe it needs review and requires adjustment. I am advocating through the influence of a council platform placing pressure on the government to meet the needs of the community. One of our needs is to live in a safe and secure society.
If you agree with this view or have your own point of view, I'd be happy to hear more from you. Safety and Security is extremely important to me and I have a wide range of idea's to combat the issue in our community. If you wish to help me help you get your voice heard on Council then please vote for Sam Wilks, sam4richardson this coming 26th August 2017.
Written and Authorized by Sam Wilks. The views included may not be those of others mentioned in the article but are those of Sam Wilks. If you have other idea’s feel free to comment below. Idea’s and differing opinion is recognition of a free and just democratic society. A Society I am happy to live in. Please however try not to be abusive or discriminate, you may be. But if I feel that your opinion may be harmful or is reported as being harmful, I will delete it.
PO Box 40441
casuarina NT 0810