Port Phillip Council has permanently banned alcohol from all of its streets and roads.
The move follows an evaluation of the two-year trial ban, implemented after Balaclava residents and traders voiced concerns about public drinking and alcohol related anti-social behaviour on Carlisle Street.
Mayor Dick Gross said it was impossible to say whether all the improvements, including a drop in reported crime and increase in perceptions of safety, were due to the trial ban.
“Other factors, such as the arrival of CCTV cameras and an increase in joint patrols between Council local laws officers and Victoria Police, may well have played a role,” Cr Gross said.
“I am heartened, however, by feedback from traders who believe the ban has helped achieve very positive outcomes for this important shopping strip. In fact, most respondents contacted for feedback said their perception of safety was now higher.”
Cr Gross noted the trial evaluation by Council officers found local services had not identified any instances where the ban had affected vulnerable members of the community.
“We strongly continue to support Victoria Police’s preference of responding to public drinking with ‘tip outs’, treatment referrals and warnings whenever possible, rather than immediately handing out fines. During the trial, only 58 infringements were issued, mainly to people not living in Port Phillip.”
Cr Gross said Council will continue to look at ways of promoting safety through measures such as incorporating Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design into street works.
“We want to do what we can to help reduce alcohol-related harm in our City and make our streets as enjoyable as possible for residents and visitors.”
The permanent ban applies 24 hours on all streets and roads in Port Phillip including naturestrips, laneways, and bike and pedestrian paths. Separate rules relate to alcohol on beaches.
Over the trial timeframe, the evaluation findings include:
- A 14 per cent fall in reported crime in public places across Port Phillip (1256 fewer offences).
- A 24 per cent drop in enquiries and complaints to Council about public drinking.
- Reductions in alcohol-related assaults (18 per cent) in the crime against the person category.