While 2014-late 2017 saw a reduction in reported assaults in Newtown, the ‘Vibe’ from local residents, visitors and businesses was that anti-social behavior was, and still is, stopping them from enjoying Newtown at night. Now the Crime statistics have caught up with the significant increase in visitor numbers. BOCSAR crime reports show a 51% increase in non-domestic assault reports in recent months which are in line with our locals sentiments regarding anti-social behaviour.
The NPBA has invested substantially in connecting with our local community regarding our Night Time Economy (NTE) and have been able to utilise this to gauge their feeling of safety. Our recent surveys indicate that there is a significant, if not critical, feeling that Newtown is not a safe place to visit at night.
Adding to this is the inundation of media reports entitled ‘Newtown is the New Kings Cross’ which have been published regularly over the last 3 years. This, despite earlier data showing a reduction in NDA reports in the two years post the introduction of lockout laws in 2014 leading to a 304% increase in visitation at night to our precinct. Here is a graph from the BOCSAR website showing the decline in NDA reports in 2015 & 2016 and also an image from the ‘Last Drinks’ campaign showing the dramatic increase in the number of people visiting Newtown.
In an effort to reduce anti-social behavior that leads to nondomestic assault reports, the NPBA has submitted an application for a NSW Community Safety. This grant, if approved, will fund
- A strategic behavioral marketing and media campaign developed around promoting the diversity and inclusive culture of Newtown
- Promoting our well known, accepting cultural diversity and inclusive community
- Educating visitors on what to expect when visiting Newtown
- Promoting Newtown as the LGBTIQ capital of Australia
- Showcasing non-alcohol related nighttime activities
- Educating the ‘punishment’ for anti-social behaviour through collaboration with our local enforcement entities (Police/Liquor and Gaming etc)
- An advertising campaign to put this content in front of the people visiting, or considering a visit to Newtown so that they can make an informed decision on whether they want to visit our precinct or not
- This content will decrease the appeal of Newtown to those people who display anti-social behaviour
- Develop a 12-month calendar of street activations
- Street activations are a proven deterrent to anti-social behavior
- Organise live performances, pop up stalls, markets, festivals and events that provide animation and activity on the streets
- Repeat the success of the previous ‘Newtown Vibes’ activation in Newtown Square and expand these activations into the areas identified in the BOCSAR heat map of reported nondomestic assault reports
- Funding some ‘Human Way-Finders’ on the streets of Newtown
- To help direct visitors around Newtown for entry, egress and knowing what’s on
- Act as eyes and ears to report anti-social activity to police and local security personnel
- Collaboration with local residents, businesses, community groups, governments and visitors to Newtown
- To ensure our activities have the buy-in from all related stakeholders
Notification of our application outcome will come through in November for a potential commencement in December. Stay tuned for updates regarding our process.