Better street lighting alone won’t make our cities safer for women
Tragically, it has taken the appalling death of Sarah Everard to fuel a serious debate over how unwelcoming Britain’s streets and public places are for women.
Such a discussion is long overdue. A YouGov survey in 2019 found that almost half of women said they ‘always or often felt unsafe’ when walking down an alleyway by themselves (49 per cent) or when walking alone at night (46 per cent). By contrast, only between 11 per cent and 13 per cent of men felt the same.
When asked what they were doing to protect themselves, the most common responses were avoiding being alone (31 per cent), steering clear of certain areas (28 per cent) and not being out at certain times (21 per cent). Unsurprisingly, these responses were often given as a combination – for example, not walking home alone after dark.