Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's the bogans, not the venues

Melbourne, which dumped its pub lockout regime last year after violence actually rose, is now grappling with statistics that show most perpetrators of CBD violence come from its outer suburbs (see quote from The Age below).

The same is fairly obviously true of Sydney but the statistics are not published. It wouldn't be politically correct. Meanwhile our authorities insist that venue-saturation is the problem, even though violence rates are lower in the concentrated precincts like Kings Cross and higher in outlying suburbs with a lower concentration of venues.

Of course Council's real agenda is to squelch entertainment precincts in the name of gentrification, with Council egged on by a small minority of residents who seem to hate the suburb they choose to live in. The panic about violence is just a moral cover. Council's own research shows only 16–20% of Cross residents wanted fewer pubs and clubs, but as they are mostly over 50 and so are our Councillors, they drive the agenda. If this seems to contradict Council's spin, it does. I have analysed these aspects of the research in more depth in tomorrow's City News. (I'll link it on publication)

Meanwhile here's reportage from The Age on Melbourne's suburb-fuelled violence problem:
Yesterday The Age published police statistics showing that most assaults in the central city were by offenders from the western and northern suburbs, including the Premier's Broadmeadows electorate...

...Lord Mayor Robert Doyle called on police to stop troublemakers from the outer suburbs travelling to the city. He said Melbourne should follow the lead of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and target city trouble spots, transport corridors and suburbs offenders are coming from with more police.

How do you stop 'troublemakers' coming into the city? How do you know in advance who's going to cause 'trouble'? It's time we chardonnay-sippers faced the fact that we live in a young, raw, colonial country with more than its share of macho idiots in its urban hinterlands. (Think Kyle and Jackie O.) Shutting down or gating the 'naice' areas is not the answer. While we continue to blame and punish the venues in the destination areas we are not even beginning to address the real, more complex problem.


Fitzroyalty said...

Yes, but... the bogans are attracted to particular types of venues, the big beer barns and all night clubs. These large venues allow a critical mass of bogans to congregate and cause inevitable violence. Solving the problem may include changing venue licenses and operating conditions, deft application of bogan psychology and policing. Just as long as the bogans stay out of the stylish wine bars and small back street pubs where locals choose to meet!

The Editor said...

Yeahbut... that is still the tail wagging the dog. There are no 'beer barns' in Kings Cross, it's just temperance rhetoric. Close nightclubs? The fact is that most inner city patrons are not bogans, so why punish the majority to target a few? The violence (here at least) is firstly not as bad as the moral panic makes out and secondly it is a police matter -- more high-visibility policing both prevents violence and catches the violent. We live in a free enterprise system. Bureaucracies cannot determine the business landscape of the city -- that's a matter for supply and demand. The violence is not even the true driver of our local temperance campaign... a few people just want to squelch the entertainment precincts in vain pursuit of a quiet, gentrified suburb.

As the new movie Cedar Boys shows, if the westies can't get into the venues they just cruise the streets in their hot hatchbacks -- and the local NIMBYS scream about that!

More small bars? Our Council has just canned the first two to apply in our area. The NIMBYs scream about them as well. Our local liquor and business associations have offered to pay for more police on the beat late nights. We know that works.

Fitzroyalty said...

Melbourne is lucky to have the small bar culture established. Have you seen it? The culture divide is amazing. The smart urban tribe go to these venues. The outer suburban bogan tribe go to different places, the big pubs and clubs where they can beat, rape and vomit on each other all night. The two tribes don't mix much, to the evident satisfaction of both!

The Editor said...

No I haven't seen it, but would like to. Up for a guided tour sometime if we come down?

Unfortunately Sydney is controlled by a small minority of anti-alcohol fundamentalists who talk small bars etc but in fact block every development application from venues in the entertainment precincts.

I've just published an analysis in The City News

Anonymous said...

The Old vs Young is an interesting angle in tackling this issue. While the power wielding oldies might be able to justify their anti "alcohol fuelled violence" rights, they might be mortified to realise they are simply ageist.
The the pair of photos in the City News article is priceless.

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