Student Voice: staying safe in the dark
As the darkness sweeps over the country in the early evening, car lights and streetlights come to life. Students and workers make their way home as the sun sets on the horizon. The workers head home for the night, whereas the nightcrawlers are getting ready to come out and play.
For some, night time can be fun and memorable, but with laughter also comes a wide range of unacceptable activity that causes harm to an individual, to their community or to their environment. This could be an action by someone else that leaves you feeling alarmed, harassed or distressed. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, public disorder or public nuisance. The most popular examples include: causing nuisance, vandalism, littering, firework misuse, drunk or inconsiderate driving and being physically or verbally violent.
It's important that someone you trust knows where you are at all times and when you are planning on returning home, just in case if anything happened. Other things you can do to stay safe during the dark include: sticking to well-lit busy streets where you can be seen, don’t walk through alleyways or anywhere where no one can see or hear you. Also, try to avoid situations that could harm or get you into trouble. If you’re walking and you see a big gang on the pavement, walk on the other side of the road if possible, or avoid eye contact or anything that could give them the impression you’re looking to cause trouble.
You need to make sure that before anyone, you make sure you are safe, that is the most important thing, and then make sure other people are too. If possible, find a friend or someone who lives nearby to walk home with and split off to your own homes at a point where the distance for both houses is around the same, just so neither of the people has a higher risk of being in danger.
Not only is it getting darker earlier, but the weather is also becoming colder and paths and roads are icing. To reduce the chance of slipping or freezing to death, wear sensible shoes or boots with good grip, a thick winter coat and gloves, so at least if you fall, you won’t cut your hands. Another tip would be to walk on the grass or the side of the road, as close to the path as you can, but walk on the side of the road where traffic is coming towards you, so you can watch out, instead of traffic coming from behind.
Stay safe and have fun this winter season.
By Tegan Hudson, member of The Stephen Lawrence Committee.