By Levi J Parsons
SYDNEY, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Violent crimes have decreased significantly in Sydney's Central Business District, according to a New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research report released on Monday.
Down by 600 incidents, the reduction is due to the state's implementation of strict new lockout laws, which see a 13:30 curfew imposed on the area's late-night bars and clubs.
Introduced in 2014 after a string of assaults, including the death of a teenager who was randomly attacked, the laws set out to improve safety in the city.
"The community was rightly sickened by the senseless injury and death. There was an intense demand for the government to do something to put a stop to these tragedies," New South Wales Minister for Racing Paul Toole said.
The move was not universally welcomed, however, with many claiming it would hurt Australian tourism and local business.
At the epicentre of the discussion was the iconic red-light district, Kings Cross, an extremely popular destination for tourists and the cultural hub of Sydney's nightlife.
With the restrictions, dozens of venues in the Bohemian suburb were forced to close down, significantly limiting Sydney's options for visiting tourists.
"The laws are vastly out of step with Sydney's contemporary lifestyle and our positioning within the globe," Keep Sydney Open Campaign Director Tyson Koh told Xinhua in a phone interview on Monday.
"A lot of communities within Sydney now come from Asia, they come from China, they come from cities with late-night, vibrant cultures and I think it's really unfair to impose these laws on new residents and international students that come from Asia."
Despite the state government's positivity in decreasing alcohol-fuelled violence in the city and King Cross, many believe the problems are simply just moving to other suburbs.
"This report confirms what we have said from anecdotal evidence over the last few years, which is that lockout laws doesn't stop violence, it just shifts the problem around," Koh said.
"Crime has gone down within the Kings Cross precinct, but it has risen in neighbouring precincts."
In December 2016, the state government did ease the laws for some venues fostering live entertainment, but have not speculated on ending the lockout laws due to their overwhelming successful outcome.
"The problem with trumpeting the success of the lockout laws is that it ignores that there was a pre-existing downward trend in assaults, both within Kings Cross and also across the whole state of New South Wales," Koh said.
"Also, a number of other measures were introduced around the same time as the lockouts laws like ride sharing apps, alleviating a lot of the transport issues which we know contributed a great deal to much of the tension within the inner city precincts."