Resident is bashed while waiting for a ride home

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

A GUTLESS attack from behind left one Gladstone resident bruised, battered and in fear for himself and others walking home after a night on the town.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, considered himself lucky to escape from the attack with 10 stitches in his lip and a grazed forehead.

Alone, the man waited off the street for a taxi when he was hit from behind.

Looking through bloodied eyes and in shock after the sudden attack, he stood trying to comprehend what had just happened.

A week later he was still dumbfounded as to why someone would attack him only to steal his mobile phone.

The only conclusion he could draw was that the attack must have been triggered by youths looking for a fight.

The man said he believed the attack could have been avoided if there were fewer people on the streets waiting for transportation after a night on the town.

'It's getting out of hand ? they can't clear away the people quick enough,' he said.

'So many of those boys go out there... they look for a fight.'

Only a year ago, his friend, 'a gentle guy', was put in a coma for a week and sustained brain damage while waiting for his cab outside a Gladstone venue.

While his friend changed his entire lifestyle and now rarely goes out, the resident wasn't prepared to do the same.

'I was upset about it but I won't let it keep me down,' he said.

Gladstone Police Senior Sergeant Leigh Burt said there had been an increase in assaults this year and the holiday season usually brought a seasonal increase in assaults.

However Snr Sgt Burt said the assault figures for last week were lower than in the same week last year.

While a few residents who had suffered recent assaults worried they had been the victims of random attacks, Snr Sgt Burt said this was unlikely.

"In 74 per cent of cases the offender is known somehow,'' Snr Sgt Burt.

Snr Sgt Burt said the increase in assaults this year had resulted in police analysing the issue and starting an anti-assault campaign.

'They are mainly offences of common assault and occasional bodily harm,' Snr Sgt Burt said.

'A large percentage are not alcohol related and they are spread all over the area.'

Operation Chillout will start in January 2006 and continue to June with the predominant aim of educating residents of the consequences of assault.

The problem of assaults in the CBD area, especially over the weekend, has been partly attributed to the number of people on the street after a night of drinking.

Blue and White Taxis Allan Rowe believed better use of the taxis by the public and crowd management would best reduce the number of people on the street at the end of the night.

One possibility Mr Rowe was looking at was designated pick-up points where a queue was controlled by licensed venue security.

He said a huge difference could be made simply by the behaviour of customers especially if more opted to share taxis.

'Quick turnarounds and sharing the taxi ? the faster we can move them the quicker the crowd goes,' Mr Rowe said.

'We are trying our damned best.'



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