Report: Sydney’s alcohol-related assaults doubled right after lockouts
Alcohol-related assaults in Sydney’s CBD more than doubled in the months immediately after the lockouts started, according to new data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
Obtained by inthemix, the data was presented this morning to a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of former premier Barry O’Farrell’s measures to curb ‘alcohol-fuelled’ violence, which include 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks for venues in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross. The public hearing also considered submissions from venue owners and members of the public (some of which were scathingly critical of the lockouts).
According to the research: – 43 people suffered assaults related to alcohol in Sydney City in February this year (the lockouts came into effect on February 24); – Immediately after the lockouts started (from Monday February 24) that number leapt to 91 assaults in March and 85 in April; – In Kings Cross, the number of alcohol-related assaults also increased after lockouts, rising from 20 in February 2014 to 27 in March and 29 in May.
But presenting the statistics to the hearing, Professor Don Weatherburn – the Director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research – said it was too soon to tell what effect the new restrictions are having on assault rates. A Bureau representative confirmed to inthemix today that a clear picture of the statistics won’t emerge until “later this year or early next year”.
However, independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said the inquiry was still an important step forward, following the resignation of O’Farrell in April. “I’d like to see exemptions for safe well-run venues,” he told triple j’s Hack program. “I think the inquiry is a good sign that the new minister [NSW Premier Mike Baird] is listening to people, and I hope we can find a middle ground that allows people to be safe at night and our live music scene to thrive.”
Stay tuned for a comment piece from Alex Greenwich on inthemix soon, and for more information on the government’s decision on lockouts as it comes to hand.
[Photo by Anthony Berlangieri.]