Feliota Fahey, a resident in Katherine for 35 years, says this year has been the least safe she's ever felt in her retail and clothing store.
She estimates young children have stolen goods and inflicted damage in her store about six times in 2023.
After the break-ins, Ms Fahey, who is regularly in the shop on her own, has taken to sitting at the front of her store, leaving the door locked before letting people inside.
"It's made me really nervous. I've been taking anxiety tablets," she said.
In a recent incident, Ms Fahey alleged a group of children smashed several items in her store, including a large vase she said narrowly missed her head.
Newly-released crime data reflects Ms Fahey's concern, showing a rise across key crime statistics in Katherine.
Commercial break-ins, in the previous 12 months to September, have risen from 281 incidents in 2022 to 325.
House break-ins have almost doubled in the past year, rising from 153 incidents in 2022 to 302.
Assaults recorded in the town have also risen from 737 incidents in 2022 to 1,052 in the most recent statistics.
One business owner, who did not want to be named out of fear their shop would be targeted, has resorted to sleeping in their shop to disrupt any attempted break-ins or robberies.
Police back summer plans
NT Police Senior Sergeant Danny Bacon said there would be enough police to support communities like Katherine heading into summer.
"I'm very comfortable that we have plans in place in regards to those regional centres," he said.
Police have not confirmed police staffing levels in Katherine, or if personnel had increased in response to higher crime rates.
"We need to put our resources where they are at a given time and that will fluctuate quite regularly," Sergeant Bacon said.
Sergeant Bacon pointed to Strike Force Cerberus, a police operation focusing on property crime in Katherine, as a strategy police were using to combat crime, as well as plans to give kids activities during the summer to help minimise offending.
"I think activities for youth over the holiday periods is critical, to make sure that kids are busy," he said.
Be proactive, says business owner
Julie Newton, who operates a saddlery on Katherine's main drag, said the business has used a few tactics to prevent break-ins that have proved effective, such as installing smash protection in the shopfront.
More novel measures have also been employed.
"I'm quite short, so it means you have to arrange your all your displays to be that little bit shorter, so you can see who's in the shop," she said.
"In the last two years, we've really ramped that up."
She said she'd like the NT government's Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade to visit stores and guide businesses in designing shops to better prevent crime.
"So businesses don't have to close or attend after hours," she said.