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Bureau Of Crime Statistics Confirm That Assaults Increased At The Star Casino Since Lockout Laws

Back in February this year Don Weatherburn – director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) – criticised Premier Mike Baird for misusing data to back the state’s lockout laws.

Weatherburn also flagged at the time that there was clear evidence that alcohol-related assaults had increased in exempt areas such as the location of Sydney Casino The Star.

Now BOSCAR has put out an official report confirming indeed that “the number of non-domestic assaults recorded by the NSW Police Force at The Star casino increased following the introduction of the ‘lockout and last drinks laws”.

According to the report’s findings there were, “a statistically significant increase in the number of non-domestic assaults recorded at The Star casino following the commencement of the 2014 reforms.

“This suggests (but does not prove) that the February 2014 reforms may have increased the number of assaults in Pyrmont and, in particular, at The Star casino.”

BOSCAR released a number of additional statistics in its report, collected from its analysis of non-domestic assaults in The Star casino precinct, including that 49% of non-domestic assaults in Pyrmont occurred in and around the casino.

In 71% of these instances the victim was a patron a the casino, and in 15% of cases the victims were taxi drivers. Additionally, 30% of non-domestic assaults at the casino occurred “while the offender was being evicted from the premises or after he or she had been evicted.”

The report comments that whilst the new data showed a clear increase in alcohol-related violence at The Star, it was a relatively small increase when compared with the reduction in assaults in lockout-affected areas.

“In absolute terms, there are about two additional assaults per month at The Star casino than there were prior to the 2014 reforms.

“In the Kings Cross Entertainment Precinct there were 13 fewer assaults per month in 2014 than in 2013. In the Sydney Entertainment Precinct there were 30 fewer assaults per month in 2014 than in 2013.”

As noted by many punters and commenters recently, these results don’t take into account the huge drop in foot traffic in the region since the lockout laws were introduced, which, according to a study by the City Of Sydney, dropped by 80% in Kings Cross during certain time periods.

The BOCSAR study also doesn’t look at the assault figures in Newtown and Sydney’s Inner West, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that the lockout laws had pushed violence into the city’s neighbouring suburbs.

One such incident involved Isaac Keatinge – a 25-year-old who identifies as queer – who was allegedly beaten bloody by a group of men in Newtown after going out wearing makeup and a dress. Keatinge’s experience follows the bashing of trans musician Stephanie McCarthy, outside The Townie last year.

In response Reclaim The Streets will hold a new rally event, named ‘Keep Newtown Weird & Safe’, in Newtown’s Victoria Park from 3pm next Saturday, 23rd April. “These are our friends, our adopted families who are being harassed, bullied, intimidated, and beaten,” explains Reclaim The Streets spokesperson James Loch. “We all came to Newtown to avoid that kind of bullshit, but thanks to Casino Mike it has followed us here.”

The lockout laws are currently under review led by former High Court justice Ian Callinan. The review’s finding are expected to be unveiled this August.

The new BOCSAR report is available to read, here.

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