Drunken night-time assaults in central Newcastle have fallen to their lowest level on record.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures issued on Thursday show 126 incidents of alcohol-related, non-domestic violence at night in the 2300, 2302 and 2303 postcodes in the year to March, a period dominated by COVID-19 restrictions.
It is the lowest number of such offences since BOCSAR began reporting crime statistics 26 years ago.
The postcodes recorded 190 such offences in the 12 months to March 2020 and 498 in 2007, the year before pub lockouts began.
Despite the dramatic fall, the CBD's 2300 postcode had a per capita alcohol violence rate 5.5 times the state average.
Hamilton's 2303 postcode had an alcohol violence rate seven times the NSW average, but BOCSAR did not report a per capita rate for Newcastle West.
Drunken violence in Wollongong's CBD was double the state average.
Sydney's CBD, where lockouts ended in January last year, had an alcohol violence rate 11 times the state average in the year to March 2021, though the number of assaults halved from the previous year.
The NSW government has announced a 12-month trial of scrapping lockouts in Newcastle from July 1.
A committee overseeing the trial will use crime and hospital data from the preceding two years as a baseline to gauge its success.
The BOCSAR figures show the wider Newcastle local government area had a rate of non-domestic violence 1.8 times the state average.
The four other council areas in the Lower Hunter were on or slightly above the average.
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie were on the NSW average for domestic violence, while Maitland, Cessnock and Port Stephens were 20 to 30 per cent above the norm.