Home' Tennant and District Times : 2018-0125 TDT Contents 4 TENNANT AND DISTRICT TIMES THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2018
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IT shouldn’t have come as a shock to return from holi-
days to find our home ransacked.
After all, here in Tennant Creek, property crime is rife.
Break-ins spike over the Christmas and New Year period when
professionals in industries like education and emergency services
In the last month the homes of teachers, doctors, nurses and even
police – who were out of town – were among those targeted so why
did I think it wouldn’t happen to us?
And now that it has I realise that I, like most people, underestimated
the fear and insecurity that home invasions can cause – even if you’re
not there when it happens.
Our case was typical, as was my reaction, according to NT Victims
Until our offenders were caught – which I’ll come to – I felt exposed,
paranoid and suspicious because faceless strangers had violated our
most personal space.
Was it the neighbour who just got out of jail or the kids loitering
down the road?
Despite not having witnessed our break-in, I couldn’t stop envision-
I felt hyper-vigilant, scared and on edge.
I had recurring thoughts about people creeping around our yard in the
dark (until they told police they’d actually broken in during the day).
I pictured them raking through each room.
Before I knew who they were I tried to profile our offenders based
on what they took – among the items was a games console (hit my
husband where it hurts) – and what they’d been smart enough to leave
behind (multiple Apple devices that could be tracked).
In lighter moments, I pictured their disappointment as they perused
our Paleo-inspired pantry and saw that our booze was corked.
Then the sound of the shed door swinging in the breeze after they
had hacked off the lock, a glimpse of our boarded-up windows or
just looking into our spare room would send shivers down my spine.
I kept reliving the moment we walked inside to find every kitchen
cupboard flung open and the sick feeling that washed over me when
I realised we’d been robbed.
Nothing had appeared amiss as we unchained our front gate and
Momentarily confused when we unlatched the door and stepped
inside, we thought that maybe – however unlikely – we’d left the
kitchen cupboards like that in our haste to hit the road a week before.
But then, when we went into the lounge room and surveyed the
scene – cords dangling loose from a gaping TV cabinet that had been
pulled away from the wall – the reality hit us.
For a fleeting moment I thought they (plural, because here it almost
always is) might still be the house but that particular fear abated when
we located their entry point – our daughter’s rumpus room – and
realised they were long gone.
In the absence of broken glass we spotted the hole in the wall where
they’d removed a window from its frame after failing to jimmy a door.
Minutes after promising our toddler she could play with her aban-
doned Christmas presents after a long car trip, she was confined to
our yard while we waited for the forensic investigators to arrive.
My husband and I exchanged looks as she started repeating her first
As her dad pushed her on the swing, I snuck back inside – without
touching anything – to make sense of what I’d seen.
Upturned chairs, messy wardrobes and shoeboxes of memories
spilled across beds.
I can only assume they were combing for cash or weapons as they
rummaged through underwear, boxes, bags and filing cabinet drawers.
Most troubling was that strangers had been in our little girl’s room;
now knew where she slept and the layout of our house.
I’m just grateful that we weren’t home but what they stole matters
I‘m not talking the material stuff – I mean our sense of safety, se-
curity and peace.
Home is supposed to be a sacred space to relax, drop our guard and
let our daughter be free.
While my husband has been hardly affected, this event has im-
pacted my sleep, my daughter’s sleeping arrangements and even my
In the days since I’ve unfairly persuaded our boisterous two-year-old
to be quieter so I can listen for noises outside.
And then there’s the pervasive ‘what ifs’. What if we’d been home?
What if my husband had been on night shift? What if they come
back? What if I can’t get to my daughter? What if – with our deadbolts
and locked gates – we can’t get out?
A week on, some of my fears are abating thanks to the Tennant Creek
police who took just two days to crack our case.
Despite the cops confirming that our case was opportunistic rather
than personal, and the work of kids who would not have tried it had
we been home, I – like many other NT residents – still feel violated
and vulnerable to it happening again.
NT Police said statistics are not yet available for this recent holiday
period but in Tennant Creek, house break-ins soared by 28 per cent
in the year to October (2017).
The Australian Bureau of Statistics national Crime Victimisation Sur-
vey states that 4000 households in the NT (6.1 per cent) experienced
a break-in in 2013-14 compared to the national break-in victimisation
rate of 2.6 per cent.
The Australia Institute has also found that, after two years, victims
of property crime still feel less safe than they did before the break-in
or theft. Even with superior security measures in place, I don’t think
I’ll ever feel totally safe again.
But next time we go away, I’ll leave small Lego scattered across
FOR SICK KIDS
While hospital is Ruby’s life, Starlight helps her
laugh and play. Because a healthy dose of happiness
helps sick kids just be kids. That’s the power of happy.
This Starlight Day, Power the Happy for sick kids
and see that money can buy happiness.
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
Expression of interest are now invited for a Chair, Deputy Chair, and up to six members to be appointed
by the Minister to the Liquor Commission.
The Liquor Commission will operate as an independent statutory authority with powers under the
Expression of interest close on 31 January 2018.
DARWIN NT 0801
Or email: DCM.LiquorCommissionRecruitment@nt.gov.au
By KRISTIN SHORTEN
Holidaymakers return to ransacked home
Kristin Shorten is a freelance journalist based in the Northern Territory.
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