Statistics have just confirmed what everyone who goes out in Sydney on the reg already knows.
As well as ramming a rusty barbecue fork through the heart of a once-thriving Kings Cross, strangling the life out of so many venues that we’ve legitimately lost count and triggering a spike in pedestrians being hit by cars (because who knew that would happen when you turf hundreds of drunk people out onto the streets at the exact same time without an adequate public transportation system to get them home?), Barry O’Farrell’s much-loathed lockout laws have also officially increased violence in the CBD’s neighbouring suburbs.
As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, rather than eradicating the demonic spectre of “alcohol-fuelled violence”, the laws have merely pushed it outside the lockout zones to surrounding areas.
New ‘hotspot maps’ released by the Bureau Of Crime Stats show that, although violent assaults dropped by 26% in Sydney’s CBD and 32% in Kings Cross since the introduction of 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks, the figures for the same types of crimes have risen in sections of Surry Hills and Redfern.
And even more interestingly, the area around The Star Casino in Pyrmont (which is exempt from lockouts) has become the city’s worst hotspot for violence since the laws were introduced.
The idea that the lockout laws have been pushing the city’s violence problem to other areas has been long-spouted by the people whom the laws actually affect.
When transgender musician Stephanie McCarthy was bashed in an alleged hate crime at The Townie earlier this year, Newtown residents rallied to protest the lockout laws, which they believed were directly responsible for bringing a bad element to their traditionally accepting suburb.
Meanwhile, a string of major Newtown venues recently agreed to adopt a trial 3am lockout, with Newtown Liquor Accord chairman Tim Claydon saying: “We’re not going to be the last spot for drinks. Don’t even think of heading to Newtown at 3am after a night out in the city, as you simply won’t get into venues.”
Unfortunately, the Bureau’s new data does not cover Newtown, so we have no verifiable statistical evidence at this stage.
But as more and more politicians, celebrities and regular joes begin to stand up against the Sydney lockout laws, we can only hope that something is done before the pile of murdered venue corpses stacks up higher than Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower.
Check out BOCSAR’s newly-released non-domestic assault hotspot maps, below.