Claims that the Byron Bay Liquor Accord has seen a dramatic drop in street violence might need to be reconsidered in the light of disturbing statistics released yesterday.
When the accord was introduced in 2013 it was claimed it would see a dramatic drop in street crime, especially alcohol-related assaults in the street at night.
But the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reserarch (BOCSAR) figures for the 12 months to June 30 2015 show that non-domestic assaults were still double the state average.
While assaults did drop from a high of 314 in the Byron LGA for the same period last year, they remained at 260.
By comparison, Ballina had 138 assaults (.08 times the state average); Lismore 293 (1.6); Richmond 126 (1.3) and Tweed 300 (0.8).
Figures for another typical late-night street crime, stealing from a person, are even worse, with Byron LGA clocking 2.5 times the state average, 63 incidents in total (an increase of 11 from the previous year).
All other regions saw a slight drop in this offence, except Richmond Valley, which saw a massive rise from 12 to 83, although this still only represents .08 of the state average per head of population.
Councillors there will no doubt be hoping the recent installation of CCTV cameras will be worthwhile, as they only came online towards the end of the survey period.
Sexual assault saw an even worse result for Byron, with a greater than 50 per cent increase in cases, from 20 last year to 31 this year.
Apart from Tweed, all LGAs on the northern rivers had higher than state average incidences of sexual assault, with Ballina 1.2 times the state average, Byron 1.6, Lismore 1.8 and Richmond Valley a horrifying 2.1 times the state average.
Break and enters were another area on which Richmond Valley scored badly, at 3.3 times the state average, representing 131 incidents.
Overall the Tweed was the safest shire in the northern rivers, with figures below state average scores for every type of crime except domestic violence and stealing from a motor vehicle – and even these were only marginally above (1.1).