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Alcohol related violence in Canberra

By Special G 26 February 2013 69

After watching the Four corners – Punch drunk episode last night I was thinking that what they pictured was fairly consistent with nightlife in the ACT.

Some information and statistics on the Newcastle study on lockouts and trading restrictions can be found here.

Personally I’ve seen; drunk people passed out in the gutter vomitting on themselves, people knocked out, spat on, cut, glassed, mob bashed and brawls spilling out onto the street. And amongst all of this are the Police and Ambulance officers having to deal with it.

I’ve generally maintained that nothing good happens in Civic after 1am.

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Alcohol related violence in Canberra
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slashdot 10:21 pm 27 Feb 13

Special G said :

Mr Flippant.

Crime stats can be found here …http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/crime-statistics.aspx

Easy enough to do a search back to 2008 data. So I did a snappy search based on assaults just in the City.

2008 – 358
2009 – 327
2010 – 371
2011 – 367
2012 – 371

Certainly not a decline and if anything staying fairly constant. Which means in the City there is a little more than one assault every day. Given most of the other town centers have a bunch more assaults registered against them but nothing like the CBD (200+ more).

You failed to take into account the population growth. If the numerator stays the same and the denominator gets bigger then the value is falling

Flippant 9:10 pm 27 Feb 13

@ Special G

The link below is a media release from Minister Corbell today…

http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/corbell/2013/crime_statistics_act

“These results also highlight the strong partnership between ACT Policing and agencies such as the Office of Regulatory Services and it is clear that this is positively impacting on alcohol related violence in public places. The profile also showed significant decreases in assaults (down 12%), weapons offences (down 10%) and sexual offences (down 8%).”

Maybe we have uncovered another data doctoring scandal!

Special G 8:27 pm 27 Feb 13

Mr Flippant.

Crime stats can be found here …http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/crime-statistics.aspx

Easy enough to do a search back to 2008 data. So I did a snappy search based on assaults just in the City.

2008 – 358
2009 – 327
2010 – 371
2011 – 367
2012 – 371

Certainly not a decline and if anything staying fairly constant. Which means in the City there is a little more than one assault every day. Given most of the other town centers have a bunch more assaults registered against them but nothing like the CBD (200+ more).

I had a look at the article based on youths drinking ages between 12-17 and it seems to be on a slight decline – 3%.

The Newcastle study has shown drops of 30% in assaults and hospital admissions. People can still drink, just they can do it more responsibly.

I have nothing to do with the anti-alcohol lobby, just worked in and around the city for long enough to know when it turns to poo. By all means make some sensible suggestions to making it actually safe to go out drinking in the City and some changes which may make responsible service of alcohol a reality because the current system is clearly not working.

Matt_Watts 2:54 pm 27 Feb 13

“@ Matt_Watts You make some sound arguments. Also alcohol related incidents are highest in the vicinity of licensed venues however the second largest is the home. So it is very much about individuals responsibility and alcohol misuse.”

Thanks.

Regarding the first point regarding the vicinity of licensed venues, this aligns with what I said about policing being able to record incidents when they are actually on patrol AND the point regarding clustering of drinkers in Civic late at night with no quick way home.

Regarding home violence, this is another reason why I support small venues who are able to provide alcohol in line with RSA. That is, when small venues close (as is the pattern), people will either head into Civic or drink at home.

Flippant 2:36 pm 27 Feb 13

@ Special G… Alcohol related incidents and crime are on a significant decline in the ACT and we are far from having comparisons drawn with Newcastle. Police data will support this and the Minister has used this as an indication of the success of the new liquor laws.

It is interesting you have mentioned 1 am as this is a more recent push by the anti-alcohol lobby which purports this is the solution for the night time economy. Canberra is the capital city of Australia and we are yet to reach our potential. Shutting us down at one is a backward simplistic view.

@ Matt_Watts You make some sound arguments. Also alcohol related incidents are highest in the vicinity of licensed venues however the second largest is the home. So it is very much about individuals responsibility and alcohol misuse.

@ Holden Caulfield To debate whether there is denial or there isn’t does not preclude what is actually happening. Alcohol consumption is on the decline and young peoples attitudes to drinking are shifting. This article speaks to a study that was commissioned by Dept of Health and Ageing and of nearly 25,000 students recently.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/teen-study-cheers-on-brewers-20130210-2e6kk.html

@ Aldernay Agreed the AHA NSW CEO did the alcohol industry no favours. However that said here is a Victoria’s reducing alcohol and drug toll plan.

http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/Reducing-the-alcohol-and-drug-toll:-Victoria%27s-plan-2013%E2%80%932017–Strategy

Interestingly contained in this is a graph that shows a very obvious upswing in drug use from 2007 after years of decline. I can only speculate but a lot of new liquor laws and increased taxation have come to play since that time. Could there be a shift… as alcohol is demonised and made less accessible through cost measures are people turning to other inebriates? Just a thought.

Police incident reporting on alcohol related crime is an assessment of sobriety… questions are asked of offenders. I’m not certain this extends to drugs nor would I be confident if inebriated and asked I would say yes I am under the influence of drugs and not alcohol.

@ P1 Liquor licenses do increase exponentially in the ACT. ACT liquor licences are amongst the most expensive in Australia.

A 5am trading ACT nightclub pays $24,000 (351+ capacity) vs about $18,000
A 5am trading ACT club pays $16,000 (351+ capacity) vs about $3,500
A 5am trading ACT bar pays $16,000 (351+ capacity) vs about $4,000

So before we go slamming the industry in Canberra they pay more than their fair share and have been pitted against each other because of the ACT Governments $3 million recovery cost. In the city there are about ten venues carrying $230,000 of this cost out of the total 640 venues. Last time I also checked you will be lucky to find more than five venues that have a 5am trading licence because of its cost.

@ Ben_Dover CYMRU AM BYTH!

And since I’ve gone to this effort hopefully some of you will read these responses… particularly Special G!

harryhaller 11:30 am 27 Feb 13

bundah said :

harryhaller said :

Like many others here I do not think that alcohol is the problem, but d*heads are. What the people in that show confused is correlation and causality: just because the dickheads prefer to strike when they drink, doesn’t mean it was the alcohol that made them do it. Other countries such as Germany have an even greater alcohol consumption than Australia, yet no problem with drunken street violence. We need to clamp down on antisocial behaviour, and not on pubs.

Are you absolutely sure about that?

http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100201-24949.html

Fairly sure, I lived there for 30 years until recently. Not to say that drunken violence doesn’t exist, but it’s nowhere near as bad as here, sorry to say that.

bundah 10:12 am 27 Feb 13

DrKoresh said :

bundah said :

Mind you the doctors and nurses in ED’s will tell you that they’re absolutely fed up with young binge drinkers and the victims of brutal assaults they treat.

Sometimes I feel like they should just get over it and do their jobs. I understand that it must be incredibly frustrating, but it results in a lot of nurses and doctors treating individual patients badly. It’s worse with suicide attempts and the like, the healthcare staff often make loaded assumptions about patients coming in for treatment. Things like resenting victims of assault, to use one of your examples, isn’t a healthy attitude to take.

My ICU nurse friend says it’s not resentment they feel but more a sense of disappointment and frustration that people are constantly subjecting themselves to this type of stupidity.

DrKoresh 9:56 am 27 Feb 13

bundah said :

Mind you the doctors and nurses in ED’s will tell you that they’re absolutely fed up with young binge drinkers and the victims of brutal assaults they treat.

Sometimes I feel like they should just get over it and do their jobs. I understand that it must be incredibly frustrating, but it results in a lot of nurses and doctors treating individual patients badly. It’s worse with suicide attempts and the like, the healthcare staff often make loaded assumptions about patients coming in for treatment. Things like resenting victims of assault, to use one of your examples, isn’t a healthy attitude to take.

bundah 9:40 am 27 Feb 13

Apart from the fact that there is disagreement as to whether there is a causal link between alcohol and violence my personal experience over many decades is that i sincerely believe that there is a percentage of people who should never be allowed to drink because they become absolute arseholes.Of course the problem is how the hell do you stop them without impinging on their civil liberties.Mind you the doctors and nurses in ED’s will tell you that they’re absolutely fed up with young binge drinkers and the victims of brutal assaults they treat.

bundah 9:16 am 27 Feb 13

harryhaller said :

Like many others here I do not think that alcohol is the problem, but d*heads are. What the people in that show confused is correlation and causality: just because the dickheads prefer to strike when they drink, doesn’t mean it was the alcohol that made them do it. Other countries such as Germany have an even greater alcohol consumption than Australia, yet no problem with drunken street violence. We need to clamp down on antisocial behaviour, and not on pubs.

Are you absolutely sure about that?

http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100201-24949.html

harryhaller 9:11 am 27 Feb 13

Like many others here I do not think that alcohol is the problem, but d*heads are. What the people in that show confused is correlation and causality: just because the dickheads prefer to strike when they drink, doesn’t mean it was the alcohol that made them do it. Other countries such as Germany have an even greater alcohol consumption than Australia, yet no problem with drunken street violence. We need to clamp down on antisocial behaviour, and not on pubs.

lostinbias 12:00 am 27 Feb 13

poetix said :

But I don’t pick fights, and I swear that there is a level of excessive alcohol that is good for generating initial ideas for writing.

A positive effect of inhibitions being reduced? You must write them down quickly or you will soon forget.

(Drunkenness is not good for finishing poems and sending them off to places though, that is, anything requiring finer judgement.)

What about really sad songs about being heartbroken and drinking bottles of liquor out of brown paper bags? That’s my muse right there!

Tetranitrate 11:48 pm 26 Feb 13

Battlecat said :

As someone mentioned before, a huge factor in Civic is the lack of taxis. Forcing a bunch of drunk (or even just tired) people to form an orderly queue for up to an hours is a sure fire way to ensure violence. If you could walk straight out of a club or bar into a cab I reckon it would reduce the violence overnight.

Well they could always start selling taxi plates at ACT government shopfronts for $1000 a pop, it’d solve the lack of cabs quick-smart. It’d also increase the earnings of drivers by eliminating the need to pay economic rents to a middle man.
Of course those who’ve bought into the present crooked system would scream blue murder, so nothing will ever really get fixed.

Matt_Watts 11:22 pm 26 Feb 13

bundah said :

Matt_Watts said :

bundah said :

@ Matt Watts

My understanding of the HHH is that they are a disciplined mature bunch who are generally responsible and well behaved and share a comaraderie.That is a far cry from the young undisciplined swill that one encounters at nightclubs in the early hours.The dynamic is of course totally different given there is much rivalry and contempt for others. So using the HHH as an example of how one can behave while admirable is far removed from the ugly picture that many are subjected to in the nightclub scene.

Geez- I’m guessing that’s a compliment…? Honestly, we’re just a bunch of people who are young at heart- but it goes to my comment about how the violence isn’t created by alcohol per se.

A compliment? Yep i’ve got no issue with drinkers who are friendly,jovial and haven’t any desire to bash the crap out of someone simply due to the fact they can’t control their behaviour under the influence of alcohol.I’ve met many people who are really quite sociable until they’ve had a few too many which is the trigger for the emergence of the arsehole.Having said that they will always be those who cannot control their behaviour even when totally straight.

The link between alcohol and violence is well documented and incontrovertible.Almost half of those who commit violent crimes and about 40% of the victims were drunk prior to the event.That is clearly significant and a problem which impacts on the health budget.So to say that violence isn’t created by alcohol per se is somewhat misleading given it triggers almost half of the reported violence.

Incontrovertible is a bit strong, perhaps, but clearly you have your own views.

poetix 11:17 pm 26 Feb 13

DrKoresh said :

Matt_Watts said :

I believe any socially poor behaviour should have consequences for the individuals responsible, but drinking in itself should not be seen as a crime.

Hear, hear! As for what you said about the demise of the local, I would really like to be able to go to a nice quiet little pub within walking distance of my house, unfortunately I’m too young to have experienced such a time. Centralising alcohol service to Civic not only makes it a nightmare to navigate after 9pm of a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, but seems to encourage a culture of drinking as much as you possibly can whenever you go out.

This is why it is quite nice in O’Connor as there are a number of places to have a drink within walking or cycling distance. Which is not to say I drink moderately at them, though.

But I don’t pick fights, and I swear that there is a level of excessive alcohol that is good for generating initial ideas for writing. A positive effect of inhibitions being reduced? You must write them down quickly or you will soon forget.

(Drunkenness is not good for finishing poems and sending them off to places though, that is, anything requiring finer judgement.)

bundah 10:51 pm 26 Feb 13

Matt_Watts said :

bundah said :

@ Matt Watts

My understanding of the HHH is that they are a disciplined mature bunch who are generally responsible and well behaved and share a comaraderie.That is a far cry from the young undisciplined swill that one encounters at nightclubs in the early hours.The dynamic is of course totally different given there is much rivalry and contempt for others. So using the HHH as an example of how one can behave while admirable is far removed from the ugly picture that many are subjected to in the nightclub scene.

Geez- I’m guessing that’s a compliment…? Honestly, we’re just a bunch of people who are young at heart- but it goes to my comment about how the violence isn’t created by alcohol per se.

A compliment? Yep i’ve got no issue with drinkers who are friendly,jovial and haven’t any desire to bash the crap out of someone simply due to the fact they can’t control their behaviour under the influence of alcohol.I’ve met many people who are really quite sociable until they’ve had a few too many which is the trigger for the emergence of the arsehole.Having said that they will always be those who cannot control their behaviour even when totally straight.

The link between alcohol and violence is well documented and incontrovertible.Almost half of those who commit violent crimes and about 40% of the victims were drunk prior to the event.That is clearly significant and a problem which impacts on the health budget.So to say that violence isn’t created by alcohol per se is somewhat misleading given it triggers almost half of the reported violence.

farnarkler 10:35 pm 26 Feb 13

Battlecat it was that mental cripple Paul Osborne who brought in that wonderful law that all the clubs closed at the same time. It was the most cretinous decision in the ACT until Far-Carnell killed Katy Bender.

lostinbias 9:19 pm 26 Feb 13

DrKoresh said :

Matt_Watts said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Matt_Watts said :

…So it’s probably fair to say society accepts there are risks and/or problems with alcohol…

See post #14: “For so many people getting black out drunk is just what you do on a Friday and Saturday night. Sure there are events you can attend on those night, but their really just interesting places to be while working towards the goal of getting trashed. The idea of not drinking is completely alien to some people.”

It appears as though society clearly has some work to do in coming to a general consensus.

There’s no conflict in views there; I deliberately kept my comment at a high level. I still suggest there’s a consensus within society that risks and problems exist with alcohol. It’s an issue of convincing certain people they’re in fact the problem and, once that’s done, the challenge is working out what to do about it.

DrKoresh said :

Matt_Watts said :

I believe any socially poor behaviour should have consequences for the individuals responsible, but drinking in itself should not be seen as a crime.

Hear, hear! As for what you said about the demise of the local, I would really like to be able to go to a nice quiet little pub within walking distance of my house, unfortunately I’m too young to have experienced such a time. Centralising alcohol service to Civic not only makes it a nightmare to navigate after 9pm of a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, but seems to encourage a culture of drinking as much as you possibly can whenever you go out.

There are still a few out there, but it’s not the same as it used to be.

Yeah, I did think of Edgar’s at Ainslie which I do like a lot if I’ve got somewhere to crash on the northside, but I don’t know how late that stays open ’til. Unfortunately where I live now the closest places are seedy sports bars and the like. It’s Wanniassa, I know Charny cops it a lot on RA but Wanniassa is nasty as Hell. I don’t think I’d want to risk walking home pissed ’round here.

In Kaleen we’re spoiled for locals really. Sure, two out of three of them have pokies, but I play on occasion so I don’t really mind. At my particular one everyone’s usually nice and there’s good chats to be had. The other two seem like a bit of fun as well and I’ve drank at both on occasion.

I’ve rarely felt scared walking home but maybe that’s because it’s a short walk and I’m drunk.

I’m all for the resurgence of the local now that I’ve been able to properly experience it here in Kaleen. From my glance at it I suspect Matt Watts has the right idea.

Battlecat 9:16 pm 26 Feb 13

I think there’s a lot of people that don’t seem to realise the consequences of their actions. Perhaps it’s either the consequences not being there, or not being visible enough?

Lock outs aren’t too bad an idea, but I can remember when they brought in the early close in Canberra back in the 90s, and it was a disaster. All the clubs emptied drunks into the streets at the same time to just mill around the empty taxi rank and fight each other.

As someone mentioned before, a huge factor in Civic is the lack of taxis. Forcing a bunch of drunk (or even just tired) people to form an orderly queue for up to an hours is a sure fire way to ensure violence. If you could walk straight out of a club or bar into a cab I reckon it would reduce the violence overnight.

Matt_Watts 8:59 pm 26 Feb 13

bundah said :

@ Matt Watts

My understanding of the HHH is that they are a disciplined mature bunch who are generally responsible and well behaved and share a comaraderie.That is a far cry from the young undisciplined swill that one encounters at nightclubs in the early hours.The dynamic is of course totally different given there is much rivalry and contempt for others. So using the HHH as an example of how one can behave while admirable is far removed from the ugly picture that many are subjected to in the nightclub scene.

Geez- I’m guessing that’s a compliment…? Honestly, we’re just a bunch of people who are young at heart- but it goes to my comment about how the violence isn’t created by alcohol per se.

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