Strip club or fight club? Assaults on the rise

VIOLENCE in the streets around Toowoomba's strip club has spiked in the months since the CBD venue opened.

Statistics from the Queensland Police Service crime map showed there were nine assaults reported in the Russell St area between The Vault on Ruthven's March 26 opening night and May 28.

It indicated a three-fold increase when compared to three reported assaults in the same location from the beginning of the year until March 26.

All of the incidents occurred between midnight and 5.45am, with six on a Sunday morning and one each on a Saturday, Friday and Thursday morning.

The Vault on Ruthven's general manager Thor Vallmuur conceded there had been some elements of trouble in his club, but that had been sorted through banning orders.

Mr Vallmuur said between 20 and 30 people had been issued indefinite banning orders in the first two months of operation.

He said patron behaviour included refusing to leave the club and persisting after entry had been refused.

"We have had much less incidents since then," Mr Vallmuur said.

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He said he couldn't comment on incidents which occurred outside his club, only to say The Vault was a part of the City Safe network of venues.

"We all communicate through City Safe."

Agenda Nightclub co-owner Jeremy Hardy was surprised by the increase in assaults.

"Inside the venue, we don't have much trouble at all," Mr Hardy said.

He said he would look into the reasons behind the increase in assaults.

"It is a worry."

Toowoomba City Patrol Group officer Inspector Mark Wheeler said there was no clear link between the opening of the strip club and the increase in reported assaults.

"In terms of The Vault, I don't put any increase down to the establishment of The Vault," Insp. Wheeler said.

He said two of the assault complaints had since been withdrawn.

He said police would investigate any assault complaint they received, but were finding some were being made in the heat of the moment while people were under the influence of alcohol.

"We will continue to do both overt and covert walk-throughs of these premises."



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