These pictures sum up the violent crime crisis plaguing Broome. The confronting images of 10-year-old children being arrested after allegedly threatening staff with a knife at a hardware store further underscore the famed tourist town’s struggles. The Broome Advertiser obtained the exclusive photographs of police taking the boys into custody after the shocking alleged incident at a Mitre 10 store about 10.30am on Wednesday. Their faces cannot be shown for legal reasons because of their young age. The pictures have emerged just days after The West Australian’s front page highlighted the troubles facing Broome following the alleged rape of a woman outside her own home. Damian Kevin Steven Nungatcha, 25, has been arrested and charged over the attack. It followed a series of disturbing incidents, with locals saying the region was at “crisis point” amid fears it is being swallowed up by crime wave after crime wave.. In the latest incident, police say five primary school aged children tried to enter the hardware store in the centre of town but were refused entry. It is alleged the group got into the store through a side entrance and one of the juveniles — a 10-year-old boy — threatened a staff member with a knife. He has been charged with trespass, making a threat to unlawfully do an act and carrying an article with intent to cause fear that someone would be injured or disabled. A second 10-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy have both been charged with trespass, while the other two children were released without charge. Chaos erupted in bustling Chinatown after the incident with police seen rushing to the area before a chase ensued. Perched outside the Roebuck Bay Hotel, bystanders, including tourists, observed as the children navigated through Dampier Terrace, weaving around pearl shops and restaurants. The chase concluded with several children in handcuffs, one forced to lie prone as police made the arrests. Officers could be seen putting a knife-shaped object into an evidence bag following the arrests. WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch on Wednesday said crime in the Kimberley had been increasing “for some time” but said he believed there were enough police resources to tackle the problem. “Property crime is significantly down in Broome on what it was last year, but again, serious crime, and violent crime, has been rising in the Kimberley for some time,” he said. “That’s why I have regular conversations about what other opportunities there are around alcohol and youth crime that we can always address, and I am working with government and the director of liquor licensing on those issues.” “Policing does its job, police arrest those who commit offences,” he said. “This is about the cause of the crime and the upbringing of children.” In September last year, Broome made headlines when a 17-year-old boy allegedly led police on a 40-minute pursuit through the streets in a stolen SUV. Narrowly avoiding pedestrians, the car sped into the main area of town and was driving erratically, mounting kerbs and heading against the traffic. The chase came to an end in front of popular tourist hotspot Streeter’s Jetty, where the vehicle collided with an unmarked police sedan. The teen driver was put on a flight to Perth where he charged towards the pilot shortly after take-off. Several on-board correction officers restrained him and the plane was forced to return to Broome. Former premier Mark McGowan addressed the incident shortly afterwards, labelling it “disturbing”. It was later revealed the teenager had been on bail at the time and was already facing charges relating to three aggravated burglaries and two vehicle thefts alleged to have occurred in Broome and Derby two months earlier. He pleaded not guilty to 42 charges, including reckless driving to escape pursuit by police and endangering the free and safe use of an aircraft. There have also been at least 10 high-profile alleged sex attacks in the region in the past two years alone. Premier Roger Cook this week said he thought police had the resources to keep regional WA communities safe. He said his Government had re-funded Operation Regional Shield in the last State Budget, which he said provided “the Commissioner of Police with the personnel and the assets” needed. “Broome’s a wonderful part of Western Australia. It’s a great tourism icon. But it is a city which attracts all sorts of people from the Kimberley region and beyond,” Mr Cook said. “So from time to time, they will have difficulties with antisocial behaviour. All our regional communities face some challenges in relation to anti-social behaviour.” Opposition Leader Shane Love called for a “serious” and “holistic” effort to reduce crime and cited the on-country juvenile rehabilitation facility in the Kimberley, which was announced back in 2020 but is still in the planning stages. “Years on, and despite all of these situations unfolding ... we haven’t seen that facility progress as an on-country solution,” he said. Locals have long been calling for more action to tackle crime, with Troy Gibson, who administers a Broome Crime Watch Facebook page, submitting a petition with more than 1000 signatures earlier this year demanding the Government address “extremely high crime rates” in the Kimberley. The petition called for increased police resources, a full review of child protection services available and a clear timeline for the opening of the Kimberley juvenile detention facility. Liberal MP Neil Thomson, who tabled the petition, held a series of community crime forums in the area and produced a report that included five urgent recommendations including “immediate additional police”. He said the sex crime rate in the region was at a “crisis point”, adding: “This is just an appalling situation. “This recent (allegation) continues to show a shocking trend of the epidemic of sex assaults and crimes against persons, which continues to escalate, and something must be done about it.” It comes after another petition, which garnered more than 9500 signatures, called for an assault on a retail worker to be classified as an aggravated offence — as is the case with assaults on police and paramedics.