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Night time safety in Canberra

By local-loner - 24 May 2010 29

I’m a long time Canberra local in my early 20’s and having lived here for a long time I am aware of some of the safer/not so safe etc places. I still look quite young and have had the odd bad experience with strangers over the years but nothing that I couldn’t handle.

I have recently moved from that “university with lots of friends” phase to the “work and not so many friends” stage. My question that I’d like to through out there is how safe is Canberra for a young woman to go out and do things by herself at night? Sure I feel fine going somewhere like the theatre or a movie where there are plenty of crowds moving into the parking lot at the same time but seeing a band that is only on during the week and does not attract so many crowds makes me a bit more uneasy.

Aside from the potential unwanted attention that a female is likely to get at the sort of places that bands might play I also worry that if the wrong person notices I am by myself they might follow me to my car later.

I used to only go out at night with friends but now many have moved away I don’t want to miss seeing a favourite band or something just because I don’t know anyone who also likes them. Am I being silly feeling that this is a little unsafe or is it just that people (male or female) in a city of any size should not wander around by themselves at night?

Where is the line between feeling safe and actually being safe and knowing when your judgement is right? Alternatively should I just worry less about strangers and be happy to go along and chat to people with the same tastes as me?

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Night time safety in Canberra
noms 3:10 pm 24 May 10

vg said :

If you carry a hockey stick around with you add your name to the dickheads ‘looking for trouble’. How, exactly, do you use this stick for protection?

Well first I would shove it up your a55hole to make a statement, then the self-defence mechanism will be self explanatory.

BimboGeek 2:58 pm 24 May 10

One other thing to note: If you’re alone, watch your drink!

Consider not touching alcohol while you’re on your own, even if you’re with “a friend of a friend” as you might not have the full story about just how friendly your friend is with this person. You don’t want to have a glass of champagne, think you’re making a new friend and let your guard down only to get a roofie in your glass.

Order your drink at the bar and watch them pour it. Don’t think your drink is less likely to be spiked just because you’re somewhere “nice,” those places have customers that can more easily afford drugs to drop in other people’s glasses.

CanberraCreative 2:27 pm 24 May 10

If you’re going to be walking quite a long way when it’s late, best to invest in a tactical flashlight. These are specially designed to have a broad outer beam to help you find your way and a highly focused inner beam that can blind someone for a couple of minutes, particularly in pulse mode. I use a Pelican 7060 LED which was designed for the LAPD. Can light up Regatta Point from the National Library! More importantly, can illuminate a whole carpark late at night.
More reasonable option though is a compact Surefire brand one for about $50 online.

If your just around the city or other nightspots, just follow the normal rules. Walk with purpose, don’t respond to craxy hobos asking for money and stay away from trouble that’s brewing. Yes bad stuff happens but most of us get by just fine.

georgesgenitals 1:42 pm 24 May 10

I must be boring. I go out at night periodically and have never had any issues.

Funky1 1:31 pm 24 May 10

Another useful item that may bring you some peace of mind is one of those small personal alarms. They are a small aerosol can with a spray can-type button on top that emits a god almighty sound. Great to scare off unwanted attention or even more effective in their ear if they get too close.

Disposable 12:59 pm 24 May 10

Buy the biggest Mag-Lite you can get. There are no regulations pertaining to carrying a torch in the A.C.T, (other than it being a B&E tool). I have been told that by Federal Police officers.

PBO 12:51 pm 24 May 10

Buy an axe handle from Kmart with the price sticker still on it and maybe a few other things. You can carry it under the impression that you have just bought it and are in the process of taking it home. Reciepts that are in date would help.

Nothing like a good piece of hickory, Gives Emo’s something to really cry about.

Thank you 24hr kmart shopping.

vg 12:22 pm 24 May 10

noms said :

On a slightly different note when I do solo night photography I always carry a hockey stick for protection. There are lots of drunk d1ckheads around at night in Canberra looking for trouble. Be wary of being by yourself after public events where lots of people gather.

My 1991 liberty car bonnet was dented several times while I was taking pics near Reconciliation place at 11:30pm on skyfire 2010 night and I never saw who did it. I did see several teens walking down the road shortly after, and another (topless) devo looking guy walking further ahead with a female accomplice. What would you have done in my situation?

If you carry a hockey stick around with you add your name to the dickheads ‘looking for trouble’.

How, exactly, do you use this stick for protection?

phil m 11:43 am 24 May 10

The more vulnerable you look the more vulnerable you will be. Walk with confidence as if you would if you felt safe, with company. Don’t walk slow or nervously looking over your shoulder etc. Don’t respond to anyone trying to get your attention or call you over.
I have frequently attended local events alone and never had a problem. I also regularly go jogging alone in streets well after dark. However, I am a slightly older male who is blessed with a body shape that looks like he can easily defend himself so I know that is in my favour.

Buy a mini-maglite (the 2x AA kind) and keep it with you to light up dark paths and help reassure yourself that there is nothing lurking in the bushes.

BimboGeek 11:13 am 24 May 10

My friends don’t let me go to my car on my own after 10pm in Manuka if my car is out of eyeshot. I think the general rule is that you’re safe as long as there is a big crowd of people outside which is generally the case in Civic, Lyneham and Kingston but you have to use judgement on the specific area.

I think you meet some lovely people in Kingston, they tend to be a slightly older crowd with very open energy, plenty of extroverted young professionals and blow-ins like yourself, and once you meet some new friends you can arrange to meet them at other quieter places.

The university can still be a source of meeting new people, postgrads and academics like to join clubs and meet interesting people and many university clubs are open to the public. I met my main group of post-university friends through a postgrad I met at an ANU movie night and just by meeting friends of friends after that, most of whom are business people or professionals.

Grail 11:10 am 24 May 10

Anywhere that’s not Civic on Friday night is relatively safe in Canberra. Tilleys or The Front in Lyneham seem nice to me!

Down Tuggeranong way we’ve got a higher proportion of feral teenagers, and I don’t know about any nightclubs down here. It’s been a long time since getting drunk and arguing with strangers has held any interest for me.

noms 10:42 am 24 May 10

On a slightly different note when I do solo night photography I always carry a hockey stick for protection. There are lots of drunk d1ckheads around at night in Canberra looking for trouble. Be wary of being by yourself after public events where lots of people gather.

My 1991 liberty car bonnet was dented several times while I was taking pics near Reconciliation place at 11:30pm on skyfire 2010 night and I never saw who did it. I did see several teens walking down the road shortly after, and another (topless) devo looking guy walking further ahead with a female accomplice. What would you have done in my situation?

Davo111 10:00 am 24 May 10

Just common sense mainly, just dont walk in dark/isolated places by yourself.

buzz819 9:41 am 24 May 10

Yes there are unsavory people in Canberra, there are unsafe places to go as well.

I think in these instances common sense would most probably be your friend.

Don’t go walking through Glebe Park, Turner ovals, Jerilderee Court, Bega Flats, Illawarra Court or anywhere else that is dark by yourself. Even the back alley’s around the city are a no go for a young chick who’s by herself.

If you are out in town, or Kingston and you feel unsafe for any particular reason and want to go to your car, if Mr Plod is around they should be all good with walking you to your car.

While there are “random” attacks around they are normally in areas that people really should have avoided. Plus there really isn’t that many that do happen around…

Ohh and don’t hang around the Duntroon Married Quarters, apparently you will run into a stalker out there…

johnboy 9:08 am 24 May 10

I think in the long term finding some more friends is a good idea.

And to do that you’ll need to get out at night.

Bars like The Front in Lyneham you can park within eyeshot of the bar. Trivia nights at Transit, the Phoenix, or even PJ’s in Civic… Join the Canberra Musicians Club.

Those are the things I’d do if I was trying to establish a friendship group in this town from scratch.

I’d be interested in what other women think, but as long as you can park near the bar I think you’re still reasonably safe.

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