Police in Paceville

Paceville, the St Julian’s district known as a clubbing and nightlife hotspot that has often seen alcohol-fuelled fights erupt, has actually seen a significant reduction in violent crime, which is currently at a 25-year low.

Police Minister Byron Camilleri revealed the statistic, which seems to have slipped under the radar, earlier this year in response to a series of questions posed by Opposition MP and former St Julian’s Mayor Albert Buttigieg.

The Minister said the drop in violent crime is the result of more resources being allocated to the area, coupled with a new modus operandi utilising ‘intelligence-led policing’ in heavily frequented zones like Paceville.

He also specified that the measure excludes 2020 and 2021, which saw public gatherings and commercial establishments like bars and clubs shut down for long stretches of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paceville is a known hotspot for violence in Malta, largely caused by hot-headedness and the widespread and abundant consumption of alcohol, although it has also seen its fair share of violent incidents seemingly connected to organised crime, including the murder of Josef Rivas in 2022.

Mr Buttigieg’s questions were made after shocking videos emerged of an altercation between a reveller and nightclub bouncers that saw multiple bouncers beat and kick the man even after he was forced to the ground.

The incident reignited concerns about the regulation of private security guards, who often work without a permit. Police inspections in February resulted in 10 bouncers being detained, while a security company responsible for most of the private security found to be working illegally in Paceville is facing criminal charges, according to recent media reports.

However, Philip Fenech, chair of Town Centre Management (TCM) Paceville, has argued that the area actually ranks safer than comparable nightlife zones, while admitting that every problem dealt with is one less…”

In that regard, Minister Camilleri has indicated that the Government remains open to every type of reform or investment to improve security in the area.

He pointed to an initiative that will see security cameras added to the locality, though which action can be taken against every kind of crime and abuse.

“This is considered an effective way of constantly surveilling the area,” he said. “Preparatory works are currently taking place and discussions with important stakeholders are ongoing.

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