Safety after Dark for All

Does the way ahead look a bit murky once you’re out of range of the street lights? That murkiness is a problem in too many places in Ward 2 and indeed throughout the Blacktown LGA.

It shouldn’t be like this. All residents should be able to visit friends after dark without feeling we have to jump in the car or get someone to drive us. We should be safe to walk home from the shops or from an evening activity that is in our neighbourhood. We should be able to get off the train at Seven Hills Station after an evening in the city and know that we are safe to find our car, catch the bus—or just walk home.

Unfortunately, Seven Hills Station wasn’t situated with safety after dark in mind. It’s too creepy on the northern side, walking past the bus station and up the hill towards Artillery Crescent. On the south side, once you move away from Boomerang Place the light fades, becoming insufficient for those who are on foot or have a bus to catch.

A question of freedom

The lack of safety after dark limits the freedom of us all. For example, it limits our ability to adapt to climate change by waiting until after dark to take our walks. True, there is such a thing as “light pollution”–too much artificial light at night, when natural rhythms require darkness. We’re not suggesting floodlights, only enough light for people to stroll safely after dark, especially during heatwaves.

Worst affected by inadequate street lighting are those who are most vulnerable to physical assault, starting with girls and women. Women should be as free as men to walk from A to B after dark without being assaulted or molested. Let’s also remember everyone who feels at risk of violence because of racism or other discrimination. People of colour, First Nations people, gay and queer people, transgender people, non-binary people—all are entitled to the freedom to walk from A to B after dark without being assaulted or molested.

What Len will do about it

Council can only do so much to make the streets and other public spaces of Ward 2 safer after dark. But as your Ward 2 councillor, Len will be pushing for those things that are within Council’s power. He will urge Council to:

  • Reach out to women across Ward 2 to invite you to tell Council about any streets, alleyways or other open spaces where you feel unsafe;

  • Provide more or stronger lighting where it will keep people safer;

  • Ensure that there is CCTV monitoring of unsafe spaces;

  • Where possible, modify the design of enclosed alleyways where people could be trapped;

  • Encourage “buddy” systems, or even shuttle bus services from Seven Hills Station, so that no one has to walk alone at night;

  • Do all that Council can to build local communities in which people know their neighbours and look out for each other;

  • Where appropriate, support initiatives that keep people out and about after dark so that the streets don’t get deserted.