Sarah Everard: How safe do we feel in Scarborough at night?

In recent news, the tragic deaths of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa have shocked the nation; two women who were murdered when they were just walking home.

Following the death of Sarah Everard, Scarborough women come forward with their safety concerns.
Following the death of Sarah Everard, Scarborough women come forward with their safety concerns.

This news accelerated the discussion on how to end violence against women and girls, caused by all members of society.

In the wake of this news, we asked our readers how safe they feel walking through Scarborough and many admitted to not feeling safe at all.

One user commented saying: “I feel very unsafe walking about after dark alone, there's barely any street lights on around my area and I have to shine my light on my phone to make it home from my Mum's house at Sandybed, it makes me feel so on edge wandering through the shadows.”

Another user agreed, saying: “(I) don't feel safe walking anywhere alone at night, many areas in and around Scarborough are not properly lit for starters. Town centre isn't too bad but anywhere outwards of that isn't great. But is anywhere?”

A third user said: “(I) never (feel safe) when it’s dark and on my own, always get a taxi/ someone to meet, had way too comments and looks from creepy men”.

What does this mean for Scarborough?

Following on from this, we asked Scarborough Borough Council what they were doing to make women and girls feel more safe in this town.

A spokeswoman for Scarborough Borough Council said: “We take the safety of everyone in the borough very seriously. It is the main focus of our community impact team and that of our colleagues at North Yorkshire Police.

“We are very fortunate that we live in a part of the country where your chance of becoming a victim of crime – especially a violent offence - is very low. That said, we constantly review the ways in which we can ensure people feel safe when out and about in the borough.

“Earlier this year we submitted a successful joint bid with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to the government’s safer streets fund. The fund is designed to improve the safety of open spaces with a particular focus on areas of concern to women and girls.”

Amongst the comments received to us by locals, many said they felt unsafe in poorly lit areas.

The council stated that they have secured just over £61,000 to pay for additional street lighting, more CCTV coverage, and specialist training for businesses.

At the time of the result of the Sarah Everard trial, North Yorkshire Police released a statement in which they highlighted their mission to preventing violence against women and girls.

Within this statement, Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, North Yorkshire Police’s Lead for Safeguarding said: “..Despite the influential role we play, we recognise that violence against women and girls is not just a policing issue, but a wider societal problem which requires a collaborative solution.

“We work very closely with key agencies such as health, child protection, housing, probation, drug and alcohol services, our commissioned service for domestic abuse IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) and other specialists from the voluntary sector to identify the needs of victims and ensure those needs are met through a coordinated, shared action plan.”

The StreetSafe app is an anonymous app in which you can alert the police to which areas you’ve been unsafe; because of environmental issues, eg street lighting, abandoned buildings or vandalism and/or because of some behaviours, eg being followed or verbally abused.

If you feel unsafe in town, you can contact Hope Survivors for advice and/or support on 01723 381811.