Wednesday, February 22, 2012
An Exmouth woman has called for an increase in hours on street lighting in the town in a bid to increase safety
Fears for the safety of Exmouth women walking home late at night has prompted a call for increased hours of street lighting.
A 27-year-old woman, who is ‘terrified’ each time she makes the short walk home after finishing work in the early hours of the morning, believes women’s safety is being compromised in a bid to save council cash.
The woman, who does not want to be identified, said her appeal for increased street lighting had fallen on deaf ears.
Devon County Council this week said the ‘part-night’ lights - which were introduced in 2010 - were operated by a timer system, which could not be changed.
The worried woman said Exmouth police warnings to women to walk in well-lit areas following a recent assault on a woman in Claremont Lane were unfeasible when many streets were plunged into darkness.
The woman, whose friend, in 2008, was dragged into a garden and raped in Exmouth as she walked home from work in the early hours, is prepared to start a petition.
She said the council was failing women with its current timer system.
The woman claims the ‘unsympathetic’ council had told her to contact her MP - before hanging up.
She said her safety fears had forced her to run home in the dark on occasions.
“I don’t want to make myself seem like a victim, but I don’t feel safe,” she said. “I just want the council to put the lights on.
“I want to be able to go home safely in the dark and walk up the pavement - and not in the middle of the road, where it’s safer and no one can grab me.
“The police are telling us to walk in well-lit areas, but why give that information when we can’t? The council is not providing lighting for us – it’s pitch black.
“The council said there’s nothing they can do because the lights are on a timer.
“I am really annoyed they haven’t taken my complaint seriously.
“I want them to put the lights on a bit longer so I can walk home and feel safe - knowing that I will get home.”
Devon County Council said it had considered the fear of crime when developing its part-time street lighting and had liaised with the police.
A county council spokeswoman said: “Crime levels have been monitored since the scheme was introduced and this has shown a reduction in night-time crime since part-night lighting was installed.
“The street lights have timers that cannot be changed.
“However, when the clocks go forward next month, the lights will be on until about 1.30am over the summer months.”
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