That’s the advice for university students returning to Wellington this week after the Easter holidays, and the rest of the Wellington community.
Two assaults on young women over the Easter break have focused attention on safety for people walking about the city after dark – and the City Council is working with Police and Victoria University, and its student association, to improve safety and ambience on some of the walkways and other popular pedestrian routes in and around the central city.
At the same time, though, we are collectively pushing the message that it’s best to ‘stick with the pack’ if you’re walking across town.
The Council’s City Safety Adviser, Emma McGill, says the ‘stick with the pack’ message is relevant to everyone in the community. “It’s based on common sense. Two or more people walking together make the trip more enjoyable as well as providing mutual security.”
Constable Ross Barnett, Wellington Universities Community Constable, says Wellington Police fully support the stick with the pack message for anyone heading out and about in the city. “We want to prevent people becoming victims – and by taking a few simple steps you can help keep yourself safe.
“Always make a plan before you head out so you can get home safely with your friends and take advantage of safe transport options. If you feel uneasy about an area, change your route so you are in a well-lit area with other people around and walk in pairs or with a group.
“Police are continuing to work with the City Council and the universities to ensure Wellington is the safest little capital in the world for locals and visitors alike."
In the past couple of weeks the Council and Victoria University have worked to further upgrade the pathway between The Terrace and the Boyd-Wilson Field – in the area where the two recent assaults occurred.
More trees and foliage have been removed to ‘open out’ the area and allow the bright light from upgraded LED streetlamps to fall further. CCTV cameras are also being installed.
In other parts of the centre and around the city, the Council is also installing better lighting to improve overall pedestrian safety. Improved LED lights are, for example, to be installed in Courtenay Place, Allen and Blair streets in the next couple of months.
Brighter and more energy-efficient lights have also been installed in suburban locations including Grasslees Reserve, Tawa, Carrara Park in Newtown and the walkway from Hutchison Road to Hall Street, also in Newtown.