BY LUCAS BAIRD
A report carried out by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows violence has increased in areas not covered by Sydney’s Lockout Laws.
The BOCSAR report shows areas including Newtown, Coogee, Bondi, and Double Bay have experienced a rise in violence of up to 17 percent.
However, Newtown Greens MP, Jenny Leong, said the reported assault numbers for Newtown had remained stable.
“While the latest BOCSAR statistics on assaults seem to confirm the community’s concern that the imposition of the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross lockouts would push violence and anti-social behaviour to nearby suburbs, the specific stats for Newtown are showing that reported assaults have remained stable,” she said.
Liz Yeo, CEO of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre also said violence had remained stable.
“We’ve consistently had the police on The Roundtable and they’ve consistently said that alcohol fuelled violence has remained stable,”Ms Yeo said.
Ms Leong has praised the efforts of community-led initiatives like The Roundtable, in tackling violence within the community.
“There are smarter ways to address community safety concerns than blanket lockouts,” she said.
“The Greens will continue to advocate for targeted solutions that address the issues of alcohol-induced violence, problem venues and aggressive, offensive behaviour.”
Ms Leong said The Newtown Roundtable is at the centre of community led changes.
The Roundtable was formed in 2015 and includes Ms Leong, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, Newtown Business Association, NSW Police, Newtown Liquor Accord and the Inner West and Sydney Councils.
Ms Yeo said the Roundtable had done all it could to protect the ‘vibe’ from alcohol fuelled violence.
She did agree there were many who felt Newtown had become less safe and that the ‘vibe’ is under threat.
Ms Leong said this was why The Roundtable was needed.
“People have again told us that Newtown is a welcoming place where diversity is accepted, but that the welcoming vibe is under threat. There are reports of a change of mood on the streets and aggressive behaviour,” she said.
“Overwhelmingly, locals want Newtown to be a place that is friendly and open to visitors, but emphasise that we want everyone on our streets and in our venues to act respectfully.
“For 18 months our locally-led committee [the Roundtable] has responded to the challenges faced by our local community. We don’t claim to have solved all the issues, but we have responded to concerns and collaborated to minimise the impacts and changes in our area.”