Author Neil Donnelly, Suzanne Poynton and Don Weatherburn
Published February 2017
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 201
Subject Alcohol; Assault; Crime mapping; Lockouts / Night-time economy; Statistical methods and modelling
Keywords alcohol, assault, lockout and last drinks laws, trading hours, time series models, displacement

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To assess the longer-term effects of the 2014 NSW liquor law reforms on levels of violence in the inner Sydney area.


Interrupted time series models were used to examine the effects of the legislative reforms introduced in January 2014. Police recorded non-domestic assaults were analysed over the period January 2009 and September 2016. Separate analyses were carried out for the Kings Cross Precinct (KXP); the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct (CBD); an area contiguous with KXP and CBD called the proximal displacement area (PDA); a group of entertainment areas not far from KXP and CBD called the distal displacement area (DDA) and the rest of NSW.


Following the reforms statistically significant reductions in non-domestic assault incidents occurred in both the Kings Cross (down 49%) and CBD Entertainment Precincts (down 13%). There was evidence of geographical displacement to surrounding areas with increases in non-domestic assault observed in both the PDA (up 12%) and the DDA (up 17%). The reduction in the combined Kings Cross and CBD Precincts (930 fewer non-domestic assaults) was much greater than the increase in the combined proximal and displacement areas (299 more non-domestic assaults).


Restrictions on the availability of alcohol appear to have reduced non-domestic assault in the target Precincts. Continued research is needed to monitor if displacement of these assaults increases further.

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