Do you feel safe walking at night?

Krystal Sanders 24 October 2014 22


Something I’ve always attributed to a good lifestyle is being able to go for a walk at night and feel safe to do so. There’s nothing better sometimes than being able have dinner first and head out afterwards avoiding the heat of the day particularly in summer.

But recently talking about it with some friends, it was pretty clear that all had varying opinions about being able to do their exercise at night. Some absolutely will not venture out when it’s dark in fear of being a victim of an attack or something violent.

Now, I live in Braddon and I’m more than happy to go for my nightly walk just before nightfall if I’m walking up towards Dickson through the suburbs. After that I do feel a little hesitant to head off, however I will quite happily walk to Londsdale street or through to Civic cutting through Haig park. I would say I walk pretty briskly though! Obviously through built up areas I feel a lot safer.

Is it dependant on where you live? When I was in WA I lived in a suburb that I wouldn’t be going down certain streets even during the day let alone night time. But somehow in Canberra I perhaps have a false sense of security and don’t feel like I hear about any attacks or I honestly don’t feel threatened here.

This got me thinking, so I did some research and found out that Canberra is actually one of the safest cities in the world being below the national average for violent crime. The ACT has an interactive map on their website which tells you exactly how many crimes have been committed for each quarter. Not updated for last quarter but for the April- June period I filtered the results to include sexual assault, theft, robbery and assault and there was a total of 2715. Divide that by our population and that’s a .75% chance of being attacked or 1 in 10,000 and not necessarily at night.

However the ABS website does state that in 2013 sexual assaults rose by 4.4% to 212, but robberies decreased by 32% to just 147 victims in 2012. Of those robberies Half of all robberies (51% or 74 victims) occurred on the street or footpath. Not overly alarming statitics, but still something to be mindful of.

Given those statistics would this change your mind to pop on the runners and head off for a stroll or would you still second guess it?

What's Your Opinion?

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22 Responses to Do you feel safe walking at night?
tim_c tim_c 2:54 pm 28 Oct 14

I’d never walk through ANU alone after dark. I’m not sure if it’s still as bad as it used to be, but back in my uni days, it seemed everyone knew at least one person within 2 degrees of separation (ie. not someone’s next-door neighbour’s sister’s cat’s boyfriend’s, owner’s previous flat-mate) who had been mugged and/or raped at ANU in the last few months. And I didn’t even go to ANU.

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 12:34 pm 28 Oct 14

I also live in Braddon and I refuse to walk through Haig Park at night. Even if I had someone with me I wouldn’t do it. It creeps me out. No problems walking down Lonsdale Street and into Civic. There’s just something about walking through any park that makes me nervous.

fraserfella fraserfella 11:51 pm 25 Oct 14

depends where you are walking.little degenerates hide in the nooks and crannies around charnwood at night.stay sober and carry a stick!!!!

Kellamity Kellamity 9:13 pm 24 Oct 14

I’m a small woman and I’d happily walk home at 3am every Saturday night from civic if I lived just a bit closer. In my experience you’re much worse off with some of the taxi drivers than anyone you might meet on the street. If I’m within 2-3 kms of home I’ll walk at night alone. I do however, tailor my route to either the busier main roads or past the embassies where there are a lot of security cameras, and AFP driving around. I wouldn’t walk the dark bushy bike path. My biggest fear is passing kangaroos. I’m from Melbourne, I have no idea about kangaroos, I don’t know if they are safe to walk past at night.

MaidMarion MaidMarion 9:07 am 24 Oct 14

According to this article we are in more frightened of going to work than walking the streets.

Mattenagger Mattenagger 6:25 pm 23 Oct 14

My approach to Haig Park when I lived on the other side of it was to walk through looking like the menace. Never had an issue.

farnarkler farnarkler 5:29 pm 23 Oct 14

I think most of Canberra is ok and it’s a case of right place, wrong time. You could walk beside the city bound side of Northbourne near the government flats 99 out of 100 times and nothing would happen. Unfortunately the poor Chinese bloke who was beaten to death there a couple of years ago was there at the wrong time. There are certain areas which are a bit iffey these days; Stuart Flats in Griffith, Oaks Estate and Allambee Street in Civic. Not sure I’d be walking around there at night without a freshly sharpened shinto katana.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 4:40 pm 23 Oct 14

A shillelagh would make a fine escort for nocturnal perambulations.

Bennop Bennop 4:15 pm 23 Oct 14

I feel very safe walking/riding at night. On the odd occaision I see someone, I normally think I worry them more than I. Canberra is super duper safe. Most assaults happen between people who know each other. The rare times that it happens between strangers is when alcohol and civic is involved. Reclaim the streets, peeps, there is v little to fear.

Krystal Sanders Krystal Sanders 3:00 pm 23 Oct 14

Paul0075 said :

I am a big solid bloke, but after years of living in Western Sydney and in Bunbury in WA, I take my life preservation fairly seriously and rarely walk at night. Even here in Canberra. I just don’t feel safe doing it. I will also make a point of using an indoor ATM, even during the day.

Small world Paul, I also lived in Bunbury before moving here.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 2:59 pm 23 Oct 14

I’m also a bloke of the larger size, and have no issues at all walking around in Canberra. That said, something I would never, ever do is walk along at night with earphones in. Being able to hear someone approach is very important in maintaining personal security.

Paul0075 Paul0075 2:14 pm 23 Oct 14

I am a big solid bloke, but after years of living in Western Sydney and in Bunbury in WA, I take my life preservation fairly seriously and rarely walk at night. Even here in Canberra. I just don’t feel safe doing it. I will also make a point of using an indoor ATM, even during the day.

ausbradr ausbradr 2:07 pm 23 Oct 14

Absolutely not. I still walk / ride my bike at night because we shouldn’t have to feel like we’re under a curfew. I do have some security awareness about me when I’m out though. I’ll often have a powerful LED torch (and will use it to assist existing bike lighting) because I find in general the paths aren’t as well lit as where I used to live. In face there’s a path of complete darkness just by the Lake near Bowen Place). The long distance torch beam is great because I’ll want to see someone before they see me, especially if they’re a miscreant so that I can get away quick enough.

I’d be keen to see a police officer or two going for a walk or bike ride patrolling these reserves / bike tracks, but I never see any. I’d feel safer if there was a risk you’d get caught by a passing police officer when you’re raping or mugging someone.

bikhet bikhet 2:03 pm 23 Oct 14

Yes, but then I’m 2m tall and weigh 110kg. Others may have a different perspective.

arescarti42 arescarti42 1:45 pm 23 Oct 14

I live in suburban north Canberra, and previously in Gungahlin, and have never thought twice about walking down unlit paths and through parks with headphones on at night.

Realistically Canberra is an extremely safe place at night, and your chances of getting into trouble are very low. I’d say the chance of getting assaulted whilst walking at night are way lower than indicated by the data, as a large proportion of assaults (I’d hazard even most) would be for things like domestic disputes where both parties know each other, not random attacks on passers by.

That said, the risks are obviously higher in and around the town centres/city. I’d certainly be keeping my wits about me walking through Garema Place or Haig Park at night.

dkNigs dkNigs 1:09 pm 23 Oct 14

Haig park when Mandalays is open is one thing, but that awful dark park with off their tree junkies wandering around and the lights being out quite often is another thing.

astrojax astrojax 12:53 pm 23 Oct 14

i’m pretty comfortable walking in canberra – and indeed most of australia – at night. of course, there are areas anywhere that have one’s spidey senses tingling and you learn to listen to these.

of course, i’m male +6ft with some formal training in how to look after myself – i suspect it feels different for others, but the reality is, as the op notes, it is unlikely you’ll get yourself in trouble if you walk at night in canberra.

the most dangerous part of night walking in canberra – esp nth canberra – is the appalling state of the footpaths!

Antagonist Antagonist 12:48 pm 23 Oct 14

We don’t give walking at night a second thought. It helps that we have a very big dog, and most people coming the other way cross the road before we get to them.

riotact riotact 12:03 pm 23 Oct 14


Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 11:57 am 23 Oct 14

Kalliste said :

I have no issues walking through suburban areas at night alone and even walking through busy areas but there is no way I’d walk through Haig Park alone at night, I wouldn’t even want to go past the flats along there. I barely like doing it during the day.

Yep, Haig Park can be pretty dodgy at all times of day!

Through winter I would still run/walk around the central basin of the lake regularly and would ride around the full circuit (Scrivener Dam–Fyshwick end). I thought it might be a bit suss at times, but never saw anything to cause concern.

On the whole I think Canberra is pretty safe and you’re probably at more risk of danger in the city at night than anywhere else.

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