Auckland CBD attacks
When an 18-year-old Aucklander was attacked in Parnell by three offenders recently, he became another statistic in New Zealand’s rising assault figures.
The offenders attacked him from behind and kicked his face when he was walking alone up Parnell Rise.
“The first thing I can remember is spitting blood onto the pavement,” says the ex Auckland Grammar student.
He vaguely knew the offenders from his school and had seen them briefly in a club earlier in the night, but had not spoken to or approached them.
When he went to the hospital with concussion, the doctor said he was very lucky not to have brain damage.
With assaults on the rise in Auckland City, combatting attacks is making the jobs of police and bouncers at clubs and bars increasingly difficult.
The number of minor assaults in New Zealand has risen from 13,014 in 2005 to 14,021 in 2007.
Noreen Hegarty, of Auckland City Police says there cannot pinpoint an explanation for the increase, but it could be due to more people going to nightclubs.
“The simple explanation could be that we are just getting more violent,” says Ms Hegarty.
She says the police are working to increase awareness of rising violence through publicity throughout the CBD.
“We work closely with the Auckland City Council and bar staff to try and combat people becoming victims of violence.”
Matthew Williams, a doorman who works in various central Auckland bars, says he deals with up to three attacks on any busy night.
“It may seem strange but there is a proportion of males who like to go clubbing and like looking for fights.”
Mr Williams says this minority group start 80 per cent of the fights in the CBD.
He says they begin with the attacker picking an argument with someone in a bar and continuing until a fight is started.
“They tend to spark an argument with guys that stand out or look particularly argumentative, but it can be anyone that will bite,” says Mr Williams.
He says the offenders are often well prepared, tending not to drink alcohol because they fight better when they are sober.
“When the police take their blood/alcohol level usually it will be lower than the average person driving home.”
Mr Williams says owners try and prevent fights both in and around their clubs by introducing dress codes.
“If guys are heading to town for a fight they aren’t going to want to wear a shirt and dress shoes.”
Mr Williams says the main problem for bouncers is that they are only responsible for the people on the premises.
“I can only do my best to make sure it’s in control inside.”