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By MATTHEW MCKEW

Crime has fallen in Queenstown, official stats released by the police this week reveal.

Comparisons between July 1 and December 31, 2019 and 2020, to exclude lockdown, show thefts in Queenstown Bay — taking in the CBD — were down by almost half and the number of assaults was also marginally lower over the six months.

Across the whole of Queenstown Lakes district, crime was down month-on-month between August and December when compared with 2019.

However, assaults increased in the final two months of the year.

Both police and Allied Security — which provides bouncers outside many of the resort’s bars and clubs — refused to comment on the figures.

But, sergeant Chris Brooks told Mountain Scene in December harm caused by drugs was through the roof and, anecdotally, there had been a 56% increase in public place assaults in Queenstown since 2016, and the seriousness of those assaults was increasing.

As he warned the resort’s one punch away from another fatality, police showed a compilation video of shocking violence caught on CCTV cameras to resort councillors.

That helped persuade elected representatives to extend a ban on drinking in public places in Queenstown and Wanaka over the peak summer season.

Lakes District Hospital’s also in the middle of a security review because of ‘‘huge numbers’’ of people presenting with drug and drink problems.

Drugs offences are omitted from this week’s stats, but wastewater results previously found Queenstown to be the MDMA capital of New Zealand.

Overall, crime fell between 2019 and 2020, from 736 incidents to 547.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz