Alcohol free zones to slash crime in Wellington| Poll

The proposed alcohol free zones in Wellington. Image: DUBBO REGIONAL COUNCIL

The proposed alcohol free zones in Wellington. Image: DUBBO REGIONAL COUNCIL

Alcohol free zones could be introduced in Wellington’s CBD  in an effort to reduce crime.

The idea was supported at Dubbo Regional Council’s Finance and Policy Committee meeting on Monday night.

If introduced, the alcohol free zone would operate for 24 hours a day. It would include sections of streets such as Percy Street, Nanima Crescent, Warne Street and Arthur Street.

There were alcohol free zones in Wellington between 2011 and 2015, but they have not been in place since.

In a report to council, director community services David Dwyer said police found the zones were an effective tool in dealing with anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.

In 2016, there were 95 incidents of domestic violence-related assault, 83 incidents of non- domestic violence-related assault and 358 incidents of malicious damage to property, according to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

Wellington was ranked in the top five in all three categories, when comparing the number of incidents per 100,000 people. The town topped the list for the highest rate of malicious damage to property.

During the year there were also 65 reports of disorderly conduct.

“These crimes can be largely influenced by the consumption of alcohol and drugs and any measure to reduce the consumption of alcohol and drugs will assist in the reduction in these crimes,” Mr Dwyer said.

Alcohol free zones had been successfully operating in the Dubbo CBD and West Dubbo commercial areas since 2002, Mr Dwyer said. They had also been operating in the Dubbo neighbourhood shopping centres since 2011 and around the Dubbo Showground and East Dubbo Sporting Complex since 2015.

The alcohol free zones, along with the CBD safety camera, were tools to improve safety in Dubbo and Wellington, Mr Dwyer said.

If the proposal is given the green light at the June council meeting next week, the view of various stakeholders will be sought such as licensed premises within the zones, police, the Anti-discrimination Board and the public.

If introduced the alcohol free zones would begin on October 1.