Saturday 17 August 2019

How exactly do we reclaim our streets?

Deborah Coleman.
Deborah Coleman.
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Pedestrians cross the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 14th Street, one of Manhattan's most dangerous crosswalks for pedestrians, on October 27, 2014 in New York City. Four pedestrians have been killed in the last few weeks in New York City while a total of 212 people have been killed in total traffic deaths so far this year. These numbers have added to the urgency of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate city traffic deaths. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Calls were made recently to reclaim the streets of Dublin after an unprovoked attack on a tourist.

It raised the question about how safe members of the public actually feel walking the streets after dark.

I can safely say this doesn't just apply to Dublin and while the population is obviously bigger there, personal safety is something that is a concern for an awful lot of people.

Whether you live in a small town or large city there is no denying that the streets are more dangerous than ever before.

With an under-resourced Garda force and a worrying level of apathy towards ever-worsening crime rates it begs the question how do we make our communities safer?

There is a much higher tolerance level for violent and drug related crime and for most people they stay out of the line of fire by not walking in certain areas after dark and staying in groups.

The fact that in innocent tourist was assaulted hours after he landed in Dublin is hugely embarrassing. Talk about the 'Céad míle fáilte'!

We accept that such attacks take place and hope that we are never victim to them. Wouldn't it be better if those who perpetrate these acts were more inclined to think of the consequences and the penalty that they would face?

We don't have strict enough penalties and while, even if we did, they wouldn't deter a certain level of criminal, they might help in some way.

We have some of the most wonderful towns and cities in the world but yet there is a culture of acceptance of this intimidating and sinister behaviour.

Just this week I was approached in the middle of the day by an intoxicated man offering to 'sort me out' with whatever I wanted as I paid for parking.

I ignored him and he left me alone but I felt intimidated and as it turns out I wasn't the only one as he went on to approach others. This shouldn't be the case and people shouldn't put up with it.

But how do we 'reclaim our streets' and make them safer? How do we deter violence and intimidation and made communities safer for those who live in them?

We must strive to become a society that is intolerant of such acts and properly punish those who engage in them.

There is no denying that the streets are more dangerous than ever before.

Wexford People