CBD community leaders have rallied to the support of the suburb after a sensationalist front-page attack by a Sunday tabloid newspaper.
The Sunday Age on September 21 portrayed the CBD has the most dangerous place in Victoria “revealing the steep human cost of transforming the city into a vibrant retail, dining and nightlife hub that now draws nearly 900,000 people a day.”
Residents 3000 president John Dall’Amico said he read the story with astonishment. “After reading the article, you would be too scared to come to the city,” Mr Dall’Amico.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. I feel very safe walking around the city. And so does my wife and so do our neighbours,” he said.
He said it was only natural that there would be more crime reported in the CBD because there were so many people here, but the Sunday Age story had not taken this into account.
“They have clearly sensationalised the statistics,” he said. “They’ve made a story out of nothing.”
The commander of City East Police Station, Snr-Sgt Dale Huntington said the headline and the first few paragraphs didn’t match the last part of the article which highlighted that the CBD crime rate had dropped over the past five years.
“It seems a lot – 10,000 incidents over the past five years – but if you conservatively state that 500,000 persons attend the CBD each day (in the article they quoted 900,000), multiply that by 365 days and five years, we have had close to 1 billion people attending the Melbourne CBD,” Snr-Sgt Huntington said.
“That’s not bad for a large city to have a small ratio of incidents with so many attending visitors and residents.” “These people safely attend the city and visit sporting events, cinemas, theatres, public events, etc, etc.” “The reflection on why people think Melbourne is a safe city can be clearly seen when 500,000 turn up for White Night event during the night. Many cities around the world would be very envious.”
“Police and the CBD community are strong in targeting our risk areas, of crime against the person. We will constantly strive to make the city an even safer place to live, work and visit.”
Crime statistics show that there were fewer crimes in the CBD in the 2014 financial year than in 2013.
Reports of damage to property were up 1.9 per cent (1609 in 2014 compared with 1579 in 2013) and robberies were up 2.2 per cent (236 in 2014 compared with 231 in 2013). Assaults, however, were down 4 per cent – with 2650 being reported in the year just past compared with 2759 in 2013.
Total crime in the CBD was down 7.4 per cent with 29,027 reports in 2014 compared with 31,340 in 2013. Mr Dall’Amico said he suspected the crime highlighted in the Sunday Age story occurred in the small hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings.
“As a resident walking around the city between 8 am and midnight, I feel completely safe,” Mr Dall’Amico said. Mr Dall’Amico said he would even walk down King St at 4am. “I’m sure that if you are looking for a fight you would find one. But that’s the same as anywhere,” he said.