| 13.6°C Dublin

Brunswick -- the popular expat zone with a dark side and a history of abduction

IT is the cosmopolitan suburb of Melbourne -- but Australia's Brunswick also has a dark side.

According to residents, the town is a beehive of activity with a population that is young, multicultural and dynamic.

One local, a friend of missing Irish woman Jill Meagher, said that the area was popular with expatriates, including the Irish.

"It's quite a young area. It's not as expensive as the city centre so the majority of people who live here are young professionals.

"It is well known for its bars that cater to a younger crowd and it's well settled by immigrants. Quite a few Irish have come here," he said.

However, the area where Ms Meagher went missing has a somewhat quieter nightlife.

Around Hope Street is a former industrial area which is badly lit and, unlike the main streets, is usually all but deserted on weekend nights.

According to Victoria Police figures, there has been a high number of abduction attempts in the region in recent years.

There were 611 such offences between 2011 and 2012 -- 159 of those on the street.

These included:

• On June 24 this year, a 34-year old woman reported that she was attacked in the Albert Street vicinity of Brunswick in the early hours of the morning.

• And in July 2010, a 29-year-old woman was walking her dog through a local park when a man attacked her.

Nevertheless, Brunswick is considered to be a usually safe town where women should be able to walk home on their own.

Irish Independent