- Police say the lock-out laws in Kings Cross have helped reduce crime
- Alcohol-related offences are down as a result of the lock-outs
- The drop means police resources can attack other areas of crime
- There has been a 488 per cent increase in arrests around prostitution
IT was once seething with violence, where coward-punch assaults were all too common and young people put their lives at risk just to enjoy a night out.
Twelve months after strict — and, to some, controversial — lock-outs were introduced, Kings Cross is no longer a hot-bed of crime.
The first detailed analysis of police data since the introduction of the 1.30am lock out shows that not only have alcohol-related offences plummeted, police resources have been freed up to put a significant dent in other crimes.
Officers have even had time to crack down on illegal prostitution in residential areas, leading to a 488 per cent increase in arrests.
And the extra police resources which were regularly pulled in on weekends are no longer needed, meaning more active policing in the suburbs as well.
Sexual assaults in Kings Cross are down 20.8 per cent, assaults causing grievous bodily harm are down 43 per cent, assaults causing actual bodily harm down by 50.3 per cent and robbery by 57.1.
Car theft is down 44.6 per cent and stealing from motor vehicles is down 47.5 per cent as more police are able to patrol the area.
“The man-hours saved and the way we are able to reallocate our resources has been phenomenal,’’ local area commander Superintendent Mick Fitzgerald said.
“We are able to be very proactive and service community needs and concerns much more effect-ively. Stealing from persons, such as handbags and mobile phones is down by 67.7 per cent and mal-icious damage by 24 per cent.”
The Australian Hotels Association NSW Branch, which opposed the lockouts, was dismissive of the crime figures.
“It’s unsurprising that when you reduce foot traffic to an area by up to 84 per cent that all crime categories would go down,” Liquor and Policing director John Green said.
Since February 24 last year 29 high-risk venues have been subject to a 1.30am lockout, meaning no more patrons can enter after that time, and alcohol service now stops at 3am instead of 5am. The lock outs were specifically called for in The Daily Telegraph’s Enough campaign following the coward-punch deaths of teens Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie in Kings Cross.
“It has cut down on the impulse drinkers coming to the area,’’ Supt Fitzgerald said.
‘‘We no longer have people jumping in cabs all over Sydney at 1am, already drunk, to converge on the Cross. ’’
Before the lockout laws, Supt Fitzgerald said come Monday he would have on average six detectives still tied up at hospital taking statements from assault victims and witnesses. Those officers now form a special street policing unit.
On average up to 20 police were seconded to the Cross to help cope, particularly over summer.
“That means police who would come in from Cronulla or elsewhere are now able to stay in their commands,’’ Supt Fitzgerald said. A few weeks ago the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics wrote to Supt Fitzgerald noting a 488 per cent increase in arrest for prostitution and asking for an explanation.
“The community has constantly complained about street girls offering their services outside homes,” he said. “Now we have more resources police are kept very busy targeting street prostitution, ice and other drug dealers.’’
Daily Telegraph 1.4.15 - Read the full article