“There is NO basis for claims that lockout laws are working”

The state’s top crime statistician says there is no basis for claims that lockout laws are working, arguing that it will take at least until Christmas before enough data is available to conduct a proper analysis.

Don Weatherburn, director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, said there is no evidence the laws introduced by the NSW government in February have had any effect on levels of non-domestic violence in Kings Cross and the Sydney CBD.

Dr Weatherburn said two factors need to be taken into account: that there was “very little data after the lockout laws to make any judgement whatsoever” and that the numbers “bounce around quite a bit”.

The downward trend of violence in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross “began well before the lockout laws took place,” he said.

On Wednesday, a parliamentary inquiry heard evidence from police that laws introduced in February locking out customers from pubs and clubs in the violence hotspots from 1.30am and ending alcohol service at 3am had led to a significant drop in assaults.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Fuller told the inquiry that since the laws were put in place there had been only two recorded incidents of assault causing grievous bodily harm, compared with 22 in the corresponding period the year before.

But releasing the quarterly NSW crime statistics update on Thursday, Dr Weatherburn rejected the analysis.

“If the overall trend is down before the lockout, then of course you’re going to see a reduction,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean it’s attributable to the lockout. Gratuitously picking a pair of points and saying, ‘well, compared to this time last year, things are a lot better’, is not a satisfactory basis for judging whether the lockout laws are working.”

He said it would take at least until Christmas to gather enough data for a proper analysis.

“It depends on the size of the drop,” he said. “If it’s a whopping effect, we’ll know by Christmas. If it’s a subtle effect, we won’t know until after that.

“And it may be that the effect is really only apparent in summer, when the assault rate normally rises.”

Figures provided to Fairfax Media show there has been an average annual 28.2 per cent drop in non-domestic assaults inside licensed premises within the Kings Cross lockout precinct across two years.

But there has been no change outside the venues.

Across five years the average annual drop in assaults inside the Kings Cross licensed venues was 13 per cent but there was no change on the street.

For the Sydney CBD lockout precinct, there was no change either inside or outside licensed premises across two years.

Across five years in the CBD there was no average annual change inside licensed premises, but an average annual drop of 5.4 per cent outside.

The lockout laws were introduced by then premier Barry O’Farrell after a campaign by police and emergency services and sections of the media in response to the fatal assaults on teenagers Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie.

Elsewhere, Dr Weatherburn highlighted the growth in arrests for use and possession of amphetamines was “a matter of concern”, noting they had increased by 124 per cent since January 2010.

“The number of people testing positive in Kings Cross and elsewhere to amphetamine use is going up,” he said.

Australian Institute of Criminology data shows 63 per cent of Kings Cross detainees tested positive to amphetamines in the third quarter of 2014.

This compared with 61 per cent between January and March and 60 per cent in the third quarter of 2013 – but the figure in the first quarter of 2012 was just 41 per cent.

More broadly, Dr Weatherburn noted it was the first time in the bureau’s 25-year history that there had been no increase in the top 17 offences.

In the two years to June 2014, robbery without a weapon was down 18.7 per cent, break and enter dwelling was down 10.5 per cent, motor vehicle theft was down 11.5 per cent and stealing from a person was down 14.7 per cent

Original article can be found here:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/no-basis-to-claims-that-lockout-laws-are-working-says-top-crime-statistician-20140904-10c9cv.html?&eid=socialn%3Afac-14omn0583-optim-nnn%3Apaid-25%2F06%2F2014-social_traffic-all-postprom-nnn-ebaby-o&utm_content=buffer2fe21&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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“Staff are being abused every night because of the new laws.” #KNOCKOUTLOCKOUT

According to the Business Insider, the introduction of the lockout laws has led to “staff being abused every night”. Sydney’s bar manager,  Jeremy Fraser who runs Side Bar in Pitt Street, stated:

there has been an increase in arguments and aggression at the front door, after the lockout times – ” when venues are forced to refuse patrons whilst still open”

Prior to the lockout laws, Side bar:

  • Had a very low assault and violence rate
  • Never appeared in the “tiered” system of high-risk venues
  • Had a venue capacity of 345 patrons, with 5 security staff employed.

After the introduction of the lockouts:

  • Need to call police for assistance has increased from about once a month, to almost weekly
  • There has been increased violence around Side bar, usually directed towards the bar manager or security staff.
  • From 1:30am Side bar receives a steady stream of patrons attempting to gain access to the venue, all of which we are forced to refuse. This leads directly to arguments between patrons, and our security team.
  • Every night there is conflict with 8-20 guests. This conflict sometimes turns physical .
  •  guests who have been in the venue leave seeking to return after 1:30am. are unable to collect their items, particularly jackets and handbags.

original article can be found here: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/bouncers-are-copping-it-under-sydneys-1-30am-lockout-laws-parliament-told-2014-9

Well looky here..

At least someone benefited from the Sydney lockout laws right?
oh wait… the casino.

Sydney’s The Star casino has seen a revenue increase of 15-percent – over $100 million – since the introduction of Sydney’s lockout laws in February. The Pyrmont-based casino is exempt from the 1.30am Sydney CBD lockouts and 3am cessation of alcohol service (an exemption that will also apply to the Barangaroo casino, due to open in 2019).

The Star’s end of financial year results boast an increase in domestic gaming revenue of 4.2 percent since the lockouts came into force. Between January and June 2014 The Star recorded revenue of $715 million, a 15% increase on the same period last year.

Police Association of NSW president Scott Weber told the SMH that the CBD and Kings Cross lockouts have increased patronage of areas outside the lockouts zone, especially in Newtown and Pyrmont, creating an “epicentre for alcohol” and a “recipe for disaster”. Sydney MP Alex Greenwich agreed, telling the SMH that the CBD lockout “creates a honeypot effect for the Star casino.”
Read more at http://www.inthemix.com.au/news/58856/At_least_someone_has_benefited_from_Sydneys_lockout_laws#CjMkkl0UlEeHz5vr.99

 

 

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LOCKOUTS are INEFFECTIVE

media publication ‘Inthemix’ has released a well written article, addressing the debate of the lockout laws:

The debate on how to address alcohol-fueled violence got polarised earlier this year into the wowsers versus the party people. This complex issue deserves a more mature conversation about our relationship with alcohol – one that excludes hysteria – with solutions that help achieve a vibrant and safe city after dark.

Sydney is a global city and we need a vibrant night time economy with venues that provide for live music, drag shows and DJs, so that Sydney remains at the world forefront of music and culture. Liveable cities provide entertainment to residents and visitors late at night, and the best places for nightlife are also safe.

Often references to the “lockouts” cover a suite of measures introduced by the NSW Government at the beginning of the year to curb alcohol-fuelled violence, which include the 1.30am lockout, improved responsible service of alcohol and 3am cessation of service. I support some of the restrictions, which I believe help make our city more safe, but I opposed the package in Parliament because other restrictions merely damage the inner city’s nightlife.

While lockouts themselves are an important tool for penalising unsafe and poorly managed venues, the evidence that it reduces violence in hotspots is not strong. Because the 1.30am CBD and Kings Cross lockouts were introduced within a wider package of restrictions, if violence is reduced, it will be difficult to know what part the lockouts played. What we do know is that imposing the blanket 1.30am lockout unfairly penalises many well-run and safe venues, while advantaging those just outside the precincts, such as the Star Casino.

“The evidence that it reduces violence in hotspots is not strong.”

Well-run venues that provide entertainment late at night should be part of the solution – when people dance to a DJ or watch a band or show, they don’t drink as much. But the operators of such venues tell me they are suffering from having to close their doors to new patrons at 1.30am, with some licensees reporting losses of between 40 and 70 per cent and staff laid off. DJs, musos and performers say there are fewer opportunities to perform in the inner city.

The vibrancy of Sydney’s late-night scene is at risk and I’ve asked the government to exempt from the 1.30am lockout well-run, safe venues that provide alternatives to binge drinking. A New Democracy Citizen’s Jury Report supported exemptions for venues with a proven record of good behaviour, no incidents and lower risks to public safety and I believe there is wider support for such a policy.

I also believe the precinct governed by the “lockout laws” should be widened to ensure that problems don’t just shift to other parts of the city, including Pyrmont, where I hear punters are pouring in to spend late nights at the casino. I have long called for all night trains and tools to help councils refuse new venues in areas already saturated with licensed premises – there is extensive evidence linking violence with concentrated late night hotspots.

The verdict is still out on the success of the government’s package, though police, emergency services and residents believe the streets appear safer. I will listen with interest to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s full assessment of whether violence has gone up or down between February and August, and hope that if the model has reduced violence, that it will not be the end of the conversation on our late night economy.

Sydney can have a vibrant nightlife scene and safe streets: I’m committed to working in Parliament to help us get there.

Original article here:

http://www.inthemix.com.au/features/58960/Can_some_parts_of_Sydneys_lockout_laws_actually_work

This reader understands the stupidity of the lockout laws.

If you have personally been affected by the lockout laws, or have something to say, KNOCKOUT LOCKOUT would love to hear from you. No story is too big or small, and every opinion counts!

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RIP Oxford Street, once bustling, now a ghost town #KNOCKOUTLOCKOUT

Elizabeth Farrelly, Sydney Morning Herald’s columnist, has published an article which details nearly half of the the premises on Oxford Street is empty. “Walk up Oxford Street. Club after club is closed; not just after 1.30am, but completely. Permanently,” she writes. Oxford Street, which was once bustling, is now a ghost town.

According to Farrelly:

“Six months into Barry O’Farrell’s draconian small hours, inner-city lockout laws, the evidence is still mostly anecdotal. Some say the violence is down, some say it’s up (because everyone pours out at once). Others say it has dispersed or gone underground. But even if it’s option A, and the legislation has worked, the cost may be more than we should pay.

Answering violence with a lockout is like answering a forest ambush with clear-felling. A street like Oxford Street is far more than a conduit. It’s an ecosystem; an intricate interlace of battle and support, a rhythmic diurnal dance of day dwellers, evening meanderers, nighthawks and, yes, predators; waking and sleeping, opening and closing as the Earth turns. O’Farrell’s lockout sprayed this jungle with Agent Orange.”

Even the need for the laws is doubtful.
An ABS paper from July 2013 shows that, over the five years to December 2012, assaults at licensed premises dropped by 23.7 per cent. NSW recorded crime statistics show that from January 2009 to December 2013, alcohol-related incidents were stable in inner Sydney (and across almost the entire state; with significant drops in Blacktown, Liverpool and Wollongong). (Only Parramatta showed an increase).

So WHY, are the lockouts being implemented ONLY within the city precinct?

#KNOCKOUTLOCKOUT

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/lock-out-laws-shut-down-sydneys-oxford-street-20140827-108xej.html#ixzz3FWaiHJQF