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Alice Springs readies for first night without curfew

Jacob ShteymanAAP
A youth night-time curfew in the CBD of Alice Springs is being lifted after three weeks. (Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconA youth night-time curfew in the CBD of Alice Springs is being lifted after three weeks. (Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Permanent accommodation hubs could provide an answer to youth crime in Alice Springs as the end of a three-week curfew raises questions about the outback town's long-term future.

The order was imposed on March 27 when the Northern Territory government declared an emergency following escalating violence.

Children aged under 18 were prohibited entering central Alice Springs between 6pm and 6am.

Red Centre residents are readying for the first night without a curfew in almost three weeks after the restriction ended on Tuesday morning.

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Extra police patrols will help allay fears of a return to violence, while government social workers will continue to support families.

Chief Minister Eva Lawler said police reports indicated the measure had a positive impact beyond youth crime, with domestic violence incidents down.

Despite his initial criticisms, Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson lauded Ms Lawler for her "incredible leadership" in imposing the youth curfew.

"The curfew is one part of it, the extra resources are the other," he told ABC News on Tuesday.

"One of the biggest issues is police spend 80 per cent of their time on domestic violence and ... that is a national shame."

Mr Paterson said creating safe spaces for kids sleeping rough was essential and urged the establishment of a youth foyer.

More than a dozen youth foyers operate across Australia, offering young people at risk of homelessness between the ages of 16 and 24 shelter for up to two years, as well as coaching and mentorship.

"It may not be the silver bullet but it's certainly worth a try because every other jurisdiction has fantastic success rates for it," Mr Paterson said.

NT Chamber of Commerce chief operating officer Nicole Walsh said the curfew had been good for businesses but people were still wary.

"It has certainly been a stop gap ... we do get some feedback it has pushed crime into other places," she said.

"We know we need a lot of medium to long-term solutions but some things the community is clear on - they want a continuation of community policing, to understand the impact of the curfew and Police Auxiliary License Inspectors to stay on the bottle shops."

Police Minister Brent Potter said 25 licence inspectors would be re-posted to the town after they graduate as constables at the end of June, ensuring liquor stores were fully covered.

The curfew was first imposed after a surge of violence in the town inflamed by the death of an 18-year-old in a car crash in early March.

His death triggered clashes between rival families that culminated in an attack at the Todd Tavern.

Officers made several arrests and seized more than 50 weapons, including spears, axes and clubs.

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