Night time safety in Canberra

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?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
29 Responses to Night time safety in Canberra
DBCooper DBCooper 8:12 pm 18 Jun 10

noms said :

DBCooper = Dylan Cooper?


It’s a reference to Dan Cooper

noms noms 10:49 am 26 May 10

DBCooper = Dylan Cooper?

DBCooper DBCooper 8:26 pm 25 May 10

“POLICE are advising Townsville women to look and act “streetwise” to avoid falling victim to a suspected serial rapist.
With three attacks on women in public places since August last year, police have taken the unusual step of handing out “body language” tips.
Senior Sergeant Janelle Poole said the key was to appear “relaxed and comfortable rather than paranoid, thereby making you appear streetwise”.
“Be aware of what is happening around you by continuously surveying your surroundings. This will allow you to identify threats before they reach you, giving you the opportunity to remove yourself from the situation,” Sen-Sgt Poole said.”

lol this shit would be funny if it wasn’t scary. In essence her tip was if you do get raped it’s your fault, we might as well blame the victims as the Australian government doesn’t allow women to defend themselves even with non-lethals ie OC spray.

Australian politicians should be f**king ashamed of themselves. With pepper spray, stunguns, tasers, banned Australian women, the elderly and handicapped individuals especially have no right or means to defend themselves against violent criminals and rapists. Easy pickins.

This policy discriminates against people in wheelchairs. Recent events highlight the fact that their are sick bastards shameless enough to attack and or rape disabled people. Without the ability to escape their attackers and unable to project as many “streetwise appearing” non verbal cues as a standing person the government should permit this most vulnerable segment of our community to employ implements that with the proper training would help alleviate the disparities between the two populations. I don’t think that’s
asking alot?…..maybe not??

Anyway end of rant

Some ideas? hmmmmmmm Weapons are only as good as your ability to employ them in the most destructive manner without hesitation,warning or concern for the life of the individual attacking you. If you have any reservations about using them to kill or expect people to automatically cringe in fear upon the realization that you are armed and less of a pushover?lol, Weapons are not for you.Stay away fom them.

Threats are meaningless. A weapon unused is a useless weapon. That being said…

some ideas to look into?

The “Predator” (Warrior monk style lol)

“self defense “ style flashlights


An umbrella that won’t break in case you are forced to crack someone’s head open with it.

Belt aren’t banned yet?………yet?

Keep a can of wasp spray(the kind that shoots 20ft) in you house or your car it works on people too!. Without the ability to posses effective weapons the law abiding citizen is forced to be creative. For psychological effect alone(but don’t ever display a weapon you would hesitate to use) a reliable chainsaw could come in handy. If you hear people breaking in even if you are upstairs at the very least the sound of your chainsaw reving would be at the least unsettling. Who knows they might have sense enough to shoot you, these are the risks one takes? A small mason jar
(labeled otherwise) halfway filled with petrol located near your safe (it’s the poorman’s gun in the safe lol) affords a surprise method of offsetting an attacker in your home. Recent studies indicate that throwing a liberal amount of petrol in someones face and or about their person even if you don’t light it,instantly generates a sudden urge to change venue and an intense desire to avoid people……especially smokers. Wait that sounds like a good way to accidentally burn you house down?……oh who cares? at least they won’t be able to steal the charred ashes of your belongings.

On a serious note if your chainsaw didn’t start and you weren’t able to throw gasoline in his face lol. Capitulate to his demands……..right after you go to the bathroom indicate that you crapped your pant’s (less chance of him accompanying you than if you say you need to throw up?) even if this is the case many overlook the toilet tank lid as a potential blunt impact weapon. It’s shitty that we would even have to have this discussion. Women deserve effective self defense implements not bullshit body language tips.

One thing is for certain if anybody ever breaks into Château Cooper I plan on pissing
in my pant’s while simultaneously initiating a hysterical running jump in the hopes of gaining sufficient velocity in order to propel myself clear over my balcony only to comfortably land on a soft patch of concrete in my neighbors front yard three stories below. Choose your battles?

Canberra’s pretty safe if you ask me hopefully it won’t come to that ; ) Stay Safe!

Lazy I Lazy I 2:45 pm 25 May 10

I find Canberra safe at night, but I guess most residents would say their own suburb / surrounding area was safe.

Some basic self defence is always a handy thing to have. Krav Maga Canberra (full disclosure, I am a regular) offer intro courses that cover more than just the physical contact aspects eg. being aware of your surroundings, where/when attacks are likely to happen, how to spot/avoid potential situations and how to deal with problems/threats if they do occur.

My wife attended the introduction and a knife defence courses and got a lot of practical and useful experience in a short amount of time.

End spiel.

buyhercandy buyhercandy 9:14 am 25 May 10

*In Canberra, that should be. Not in camera. Of course.

buyhercandy buyhercandy 9:11 am 25 May 10

I have been in your situation many a time – I’m a 22-year-old girl, always attending gigs. I’m also a live music photographer, so before/after gigs, I often have lots of expensive camera gear on me, which certainly would make me more of a target.

That said, I have never had a problem in the four or five years I’ve been attending gigs in camera. Be alert, of course, but walk confidently and you should be fine.

I don’t quite understand what you mean about ‘the sorts of places bands play’. Honestly? I’ve been hassled much more near nightclubs and (heavy) drinking spots than I have at live music venues. If anything, they’re safer than the average place you might go at night. I do get your concern, but I don’t think you should be overly worried.

Ceej1973 Ceej1973 6:36 am 25 May 10

Stay away from dark, confined areas, where the offender can either hide or excape from I would say. Stick to well lit areas, and dont look over defensive! One would have thought that a family concentrated area such as Lanyon Valley (as an example) would be a safe place to walk, but in my neighbourhood in the last year there has been a daylight kidnapping of a woman,rapes, several bashings of males in underpasses and child abductors from School grounds in broad daylight. So yes, be awares of the environment you are in, and be alert. As a male, when I am in environments that I dont feel 100% safe, I have my keys in my hand, should I have to use them as a means of warding off or a weapon for self defence. Should you need to defend yourself, I was taught in Protective Services, that is better to warn the preditor that you will use force to protect yourself, should they keep coming at you, assuming you have already tried to retreat and/or warned them off.

krats krats 9:01 pm 24 May 10

Davo111 said :

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

Always take a friend (preferably one that cant run as fast as you) IE:EG “A Decoy”

Special G Special G 8:48 pm 24 May 10

I’m with VG about the hockey stick. Expect that one day someone will simply take it off you and stuff it up your own bum.

OT – Canberra is safe as long as you are not doing stupid stuff like getting blind drunk and passing out in alleys or parks. As for meeting people plenty of options given but also team social sports – often you can put your name down as a single and they will find a team for you to join.

bd84 bd84 8:34 pm 24 May 10

Well lit places with lots of people will normally keep you reasonably safe. Dark alleys and parks are a no-no, even for most males.

Fisho Fisho 7:30 pm 24 May 10

johnboy said :

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.

Yes to the first bit, to the second -no.

Canberra has so many special interest groups it’s ridiculous. Join one. From hunting, embroidery, 4wd’ing public speaking to landcare and everything in between … there’s always a bunch of like minded folks about.

You meet up with them at night in the boozer after you become friends.

local-loner local-loner 7:08 pm 24 May 10

Yeah not sure about how I would get a hockey stick into any venue but thanks for all the other suggestions. I’ve actually been hassled before but only in daylight funnily enough. Usually in places like bus interchanges in peak hour when you can just walk away and once as a teenager waiting for my mum outside a supermarket when a guy in his twenties didn’t seem to understand that if I was too young to legally go out for a drink with him then I was also to young to be his friend… thankfully someone I knew turned up quite soon after because I didn’t have anywhere to walk to on that occasion.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 3:41 pm 24 May 10

Given that even Norfolk Island isn’t immune to predations anymore, common sense seems to be the way to go.

PBO PBO 3:23 pm 24 May 10

noms said :

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.

gee Noms, hope u dont have a record………

noms 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 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 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 georgesgenitals 1:42 pm 24 May 10

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

Funky1 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 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.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site