It’s time to work together to make Camden a safer place to be
Laura Marks OBE, interfaith consultant, The Common Good
- Credit: PA
Last Saturday night at 9.30, when we are normally following our lockdown Saturday tradition of arguing over what to watch on Netflix, we were instead on our doorstep along with our neighbours. With candles (safely in a glass against the blasting wind) lit, we spent a few moments reflecting on the heart-breaking murder of Sarah Everard and the critical issue of safety on our streets.
As the mother of a daughter almost the same age as Sarah, I understand the constant anxiety surrounding her personal safety – late night outings, trips on public transport and being out alone. Sarah’s disappearance and murder represent every mother’s worst nightmare.
I remember, decades ago, the narrative around women "asking for it", "wearing the wrong clothes" and not being "careful enough". Surely it is time to move on.
I was ashamed to discover, on doing some research this week, that Camden is the third most crime riddled borough in our city. However, and whilst it doesn’t make this tragedy any better, overall London is relatively safe, coming 22nd in the Economist’s ranking of safe cities 2019 ahead of Frankfurt and even Wellington. Whilst women are murdered daily by men, random abduction remains incredibly rare.
I reflected on this standing on the doorstep, candle glowing, and how this year we have come together to fight the pandemic. I felt sure we could use that same newly felt shared responsibility for each other, to tackle women’s safety.
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In particular, here in North West London, there is so much we can do to make the streets safer, starting with shifting the responsibility from the women themselves. This includes tackling the entrenched misogyny in society, teaching our boys about women’s fears and what they can do as allies, working on better policing strategies and lighting up our dark alleys and streets especially during the long winter nights.
It’s time to work together to make Camden a safer place to be, for women on the streets and for all of us in this otherwise, remarkable borough.
- Laura Marks is founder of Mitzvah Day, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and an interfaith consultant - commongood.uk.com
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