Newtown Alcohol Violence Keeps Rising

14/09/2015 9:41 PM AEST | Updated 31/08/2016 9:24 PM AEST

Alcohol-fuelled violence and crime continue to be a problem for Newtown, as late-night crowds migrate from the lockout measures in the Sydney CBD to the more relaxed inner-west.

As The Huffington Post Australia revealed in August, statistics from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showed an alarming spike in alcohol-related and late-night crime in Newtown in the year to 2015. A range of lockout laws in the Sydney CBD, which bar new arrivals from entering licensed premises after 1.30am and mandate last drinks at 3am, came into force in February 2014 as a response to the one-punch deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie.

When the laws were introduced, Newtown pubs and clubs spoke of their fear that violence would migrate from the city to the suburbs, the latest BOCSAR figures show this trend has continued.

In the year to June 2015, assaults rose to their second-highest levels ever. Alcohol-related assaults rose 22 percent, alcohol-related assaults at night jumped 17 percent, and assaults on licensed premises shot up more than 46 percent. All these offences recorded their highest ever figures in the year to June 2015.

Liquor offences in Newtown -- which includes sale or consumption of alcohol in breach of licensing regulations, public drinking, and consuming alcohol in alcohol-free zone -- rose 47 percent in the same period, while disorderly conduct, alcohol-related disorderly conduct and disorderly conduct at night also jumped to their highest ever levels.


Newtown Liquor Accord chair Tim Claydon has overseen Newtown bars introduce their own voluntary lockout measures (HuffPost Australia/Tom Compagnoni)

Protestors gathered in the Sydney CBD on Sunday, with a mobile music festival demonstrating against the city's lockout laws. The state government is due to review the measures in February 2016.

Meanwhile, several Newtown bars have recently taken matters into their own hands with a range of voluntary measures including refusing to serve shots after midnight or admit new patrons after 3am.

"Definitely a lot more of the late night patrons are coming here [after the CBD lockouts]... and that's the main reason we looked at our lockout," Newtown Liquor Accord chair, Tim Claydon, told HuffPost Australia in August.

"We didn't want people to think Newtown has this reputation where drunks and craziness happen. That vibrant scene is lost if people are worried about intoxicated people. We want to keep Newtown so people can come watch a movie or a band, eat at a restaurant, go out and dance until 3am and not be intimidated by intoxicated incidents," Claydon said.

On Monday, Claydon said the voluntary measures had come into force at the beginning of September and have been -- so far -- well-received by patrons.

"It's only the second week now, but I've spoken to the venues and so far there has been nothing going on. It might be a bit early to tell though," he said.

"We're getting the message out, and people's knowledge of the measures is increasing more and more. There have been no incidents we are aware of."

"I think because of everything in the city and King's Cross, people are prepared for sacrifices [like lockouts]. I don't think anyone, especially young people, will be fazed by it."

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