NEW police statistics show a rise in crimes against the person in Ballarat. Reporter Tom Cowie experienced the problem first-hand on Friday night.
AS someone who had only recently moved to Ballarat I had heard about its reputation for random street violence.
Early Saturday morning, myself and a group of workmates were assaulted on Lydiard Street North after attending a function in Melbourne. We had just left our bus which had brought us back from The Rural Press Club of Victoria awards.
During the night we had been drinking, and by the time we arrived in Ballarat we were keen to continue our fun.
Unfortunately, a group of six men – none of which we knew – thought we must have been an easy mark for a fight.
When they walked past us they threw abuse and when one of us said something back – which was a mistake – they came at us throwing punches.
Our group, which included both men and women, was shocked by what was going on and only wanted them to go away.
We tried to push them off and separate them from our friends who were being attacked, but it didn’t help.
We tried to push them off and separate them from our friends who were being attacked, but it didn’t help
Just as quickly as it began, it was over.
Luckily, none of us received any injuries which required hospital treatment. There was a black eye, a loose tooth and a cut lip.
It could have been far worse, someone could have fallen over and hit their head on a gutter. They could have had weapons, knives or bottles.
What happened was senseless, random and unprovoked. Our biggest mistake was saying something back to them, but that does not warrant assault.
We have reported the incident to police, who are investigating and analysing CCTV footage.
Hopefully, they can catch those who did this and help make our streets safer for everyone.
Anyone who witnessed the attack just after 1am on Lydiard Street North near the Art Gallery of Ballarat is urged to call Senior Constable Sam McCaskill at Ballarat Police on 5336 6000.