Sunday, March 22, 2015

Councils Talk About Impact Analysis?

TonyN here continuing with the research into the impact of closing Venues, I spoke recently with Chasmal and this was going to have a flash graph but I don't think there is any real need for a graph to show what has happened. And I am going to focus on Leeds and the impact on crime of losing three venues and ask the question was any impact analysis done by the council on what happens when councillors and a MP push a personal agenda. As I pointed out on my previous piece councils and more important councillors have to have some idea of what happens when you move from clubs with people wanting to enjoy and pay for private dances to people in restuarants, fast food joints and most importantly the sort of £1 a pint pre loaded drinkers that wouldn't get into a SEV.

First I want to explain that I have e-mailed both Rachel Reeves and Rebecca Charlwood to ask them about their time line and what they expected to happen when clubs closed especially around violent and sexual crime. At the time of writing this entry I have had no response and I will be honest I wasn't expecting any. After all what would they say? That they were either ill informed and therefore had no idea of what would happen or that they knew and they just didn't care? Neither message is that impressive so lets start with the time line of the pressure to close venues and we can then look at the results.

1. Question put to Citizen Panel, which is not a formal consultation process and is formed of people who are vocal on their opinion which is interesting because it seems 70% of them did not bother when the first consultation came out.

2. First Consultation took place which was a very black or white situation in yes or no to SEVs. The result was in favour of SEVs which I believe both of you were unhappy about.

3. A “working group” was established of supposed key stakeholders including an anti striptease lobby group. There was a token academic and no representation of dancers or clubs which presents the view that the only reason for the working group was to find ways to close clubs.

4. Second consultation takes place with a much more structured format designed to provide the best opportunity to get the result required by splitting the pro striptease vote between those for the 7 clubs being the correct number and those who are more interested in the free market approach of as many clubs as the city can support financially in terms of customers. No option for people to say zero.

Having spent several years in local government I have seen the use of structured questionnaires and consultations to get the end result required. So merging the opinion of those against clubs with those who want a small number of clubs was clever.

Now lets move on to the impact of closing the 3 venues in Leeds in terms of violent and sexual crime, remembering the research this blog did in 2011 we have figures for all the clubs operating in Leeds and we can now compare them to the 6 months from August 2014 to Jan 2015 and in another 6 months I will be able to compare a year's data with a year's data. This is really in two parts the first and almost minor one is around Deep Blue where back in 2011 there was no violent and sexual crime in the surrounding area around the club. Yet in 6 months there have been 3 incidents, as I said it is minor and no one is going to blink an eye except the victims of course who might want to question would they have been attacked if Deep Blue was open?

There were two venues in the Headrow that were closed Red Leopard and Wildcats which had overlaying areas of influence so I have had to combine them in terms of results. Now this is the one that is a sore point with me as the 2 clubs combined saw a grand total of 12 violent and/or sexual crimes in a year back in 2011, now move forward to 2014/5 and we have 26 violent and/or sexual crimes in 6 months. So we have moved from averaging 1 a month to 4.5 a month. Now I am sure Leeds will point out there are worse places in Leeds but for the victims that doesn't really give answers.

So the question remains did the council not bother researching what might happen or did the pressure from certain quarters push through an action where councillors had an idea what would happen but just didn't care. Not sure which is actually worse but closing established venues without adjusting for the lack of bouncers and and cctv by not increasing the police presence seems a recipe for disaster and we can only feel for those people who may not have been victims if the clubs had of stayed open.

TonyN (

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Are Councillors in Favour of Violent or Sexual Crimes?

First apologies for the delay in getting this out but I wanted to double check the figures and I have been struggling a little health wise but nothing keeps me down for long. Secondly this is not full of funny remarks, the facts whilst very dry are important so trying to be serious on this.

I have been revisiting the crime figures that we did in 2012 relating to sexual and violent crimes in the proximity of venues. We could only use venues that had closed before January 2014 and that data in 2012 research that covered a full year. This gave us 11 venues that fitted the base requirements in terms of previous data and a full year of data where the club was no longer open. As some clubs had fought to stay open we had less data than we had hoped but the figures were never going to be conclusive anyway.

So of the 11 we had 7 venues that saw increases to violent crime figures, 3 that saw drops and 1 that was the same. However of the 10 venues that saw a change two had a change of two or less (one was up and one was down) so realistically we had 8 venues that saw variences that were quite pronounced. So 75% of the venues that saw some real change saw increases to violent and sexual crimes, in and of itself not much to get people excited but I was glancing at other venues that have closed that would be valid next year and the ones I looked at would suggest that the increase in violent and sexual crimes will occur in places where venues have closed.

I do have one sticking point on one venue that saw a fall as the night club that was located in close proximity and had been the centre of the issues in the previous research has been closed. It was hard to separate out the crime previously so I would be wary of 12.5% of the data. But I never try and hide things because that would come back and bite me in the backside. So at least we have some idea of what has happened when councils or finances have shut venues. And whilst it is not a good thought for any of us males we have to question why the increase and will this be reflected more and more over the next few years as venues close and no new venues open?

So what in the environment in and around clubs would encourage people not to commit crimes? Well feet on the street? We have bouncers outside venues and they know that the clubs could be closed IF violent and sexual crimes occur close to the club so they are probably more watchful than bouncers at nightclubs. And the Eyes in the Sky? Clubs have CCTV outside as part of their operating conditions so people would think twice knowing there is a chance they would be on camera.

And finally the clubs in a lot of ways teach people to respect and view people as human beings in ways you would never see at nightclubs. The alpha male issue that night clubs have is displaced in SEVs as everyone is equal, a person of limited funds, who isn't good looking, who may be socially awkward is accepted just as much as anyone else if they are willing to spend money on dances. I have seen some guys come in and flash money but never spend it on the dancers more than the bare minimum to keep the club happy. So certain types of behaviour within clubs generates better treatment which in turn decreases resentment of entitlement that some may feel because of issues such as social awkwardness.

I would say when you look at the numbers there is not enough data points to establish a trend BUT I have looked at one or two venues that if we do this next year will certainly be on the list. Looking at Leeds certain councillors will have some questions to answer as two months worth of data produced results that were almost double of a year with the clubs. I would think carefully about trying to explain how my morals were more important than the number of victims of violent and sexual crimes if I was a certain Leeds councillor,

I am not a sociologist so I can't explain the proper terms for it nor do I have a big enough data sample to truly show anything other than blips. However looking at locations for next year and just glancing at the figures seeing over a years worth of crime in two months suggests that there is something that people with degrees need to be looking at because the figures do seem to be pointing at something going on after clubs closing. Wonder how many people would vote for councillors who increase violent crime in their local area because of moral judgments? And I would ask anyone in the research field of crime and adult entertainment there may be some value in researching if closing venues does increase crime especially looking at venues being re-purposed as night clubs! Remember the research that showed most people thought night clubs and even restaurants were more likely to be a nuisance so this just continues that theme.

TonyN (