NSW crime report: Lockout reduces Sydney CBD violence, drug use increases across state

Sydney’s lockout laws have greatly reduced violent assaults in the CBD and Kings Cross but drug possession and trafficking has increased sharply across NSW, a major crime report has found.6396564-3x2-940x627

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research report also showed most major crimes including robbery and theft had decreased for the 24 months to December 2014.

The headline statistic revealed a decrease in assaults in Kings Cross by about a third, and by 26 per cent in the CBD.

The bureau’s director Don Weatherburn said the lockdown did not appear to shift the problem of alcohol-fuelled violence to nearby suburbs.

“It was a pretty spectacular effect,” he said.

Laws require 1:30am lockouts and 3:00am last drinks across a designated Sydney CBD entertainment precinct and were introduced after a number of alcohol-related deaths in the area.

Medical experts say lockout reduces stress on emergency rooms

The most high profile incident was the death of Daniel Christie, the 18-year-old killed in Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve in 2013 by a one-punch blow to the head.

Key NSW crime statistics:

• Possession and/or use of cocaine – up 31.2 per cent

• Possession and/or use of narcotics – up 14.6 per cent

• Possession and/or use of cannabis – up 16.7 per cent

• Possession and/or use of amphetamines – up 36.3 per cent

• Dealing, trafficking in amphetamines – up 27.6 per cent

• Prohibited weapons offences – up 20.2 per cent

• Prostitution offences – up 488.6 per cent

• Robbery without a weapon – down 21.7 per cent

• Robbery with a weapon not a firearm – down 14.5 per cent

• Break and enter dwelling – down 3.8 per cent

• Break and enter non-dwelling – down 12.8 per cent

• Steal from motor vehicle – down 4.7 per cent

• Steal from retail store – down 6.2 per cent

• Steal from person – down 14.6 per cent

• Malicious damage to property – down 10.8 per cent

The laws have been controversial since their introduction in February last year, with some businesses reporting large drops in patronage and profits.

St Vincent’s Health Australia boss Toby Hall said the lockout laws reduced the pressure on medical teams in emergency rooms.

“There is a big difference now,” he said.

“There’s a reduction in poor behaviour of people … coming to emergency.

“[There are] far less people coming in who seem to be intoxicated.

“So, a big change on the ground for the staff and most importantly people are seeming to be safer than they were before.”

The crime report showed an alarming increase in drug possession and trafficking, especially for cocaine and amphetamines.

Cocaine possession rose 31 per cent across the state, and amphetamine use and trafficking increased more than 36 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

SOURCE: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-16/crime-statistics-and-lockout-laws-nsw-2015/6396486

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