Map places safety in spotlight

The project allows members of the public to share locations they feel uneasy, scared and unwelcome or happy, safe and included. 192237_01

By Alesha Capone

Wyndham council is one of 20 Victorian municipalities participating in an online project where women and gender-diverse people can identify public areas where they feel unsafe.

The YourGround crowd-mapping website has been designed by CrowdSpot in collaboration with Monash University’s XYX Lab.

Along with Wyndham, councils including Maribyrnong and Greater Geelong are supporting the project, which allows members of the public to share locations they feel uneasy, scared and unwelcome or happy, safe and included.

Wyndham mayor Adele Hegedich said YourGround’s webpage featured an interactive map that allows women and gender-diverse residents “to drop a pin on an area and tell their often-hidden stories”.

“When collated and analysed, the data will help inform us where and how we can make our city, parks, sporting and community spaces safer and more inclusive for women and gender diverse residents,” Cr Hegedich said.

“We’re proud to be part of this project which gives women and gender diverse people the opportunity to anonymously share their experiences, stories and feelings of safety in their local area.

Two women have nominated the Werribee River Trail as an “unsafe spot” on the YourGround map, due to a lack of lighting.

“There is always groups of people drinking alcohol/loitering in this park,” one woman commented.

A reserve near Amber Place, Wyndham Vale has been marked as “unsafe” by a person who wrote that they once encountered “two gangs of youths” with “large kitchen knives” while walking in the area.

The Werribee Train Station entrance in Station Place has also been marked as “unsafe”.

“I wouldn’t walk through the train station at night time, feels very unsafe,” a comment about the station read.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said that Wyndham police were on duty at all times of the day and night, to provide a visible presence to detect and deter crime.

“Local transit police officers and Protective Services Officers provide a highly visible presence on the local train network and at public transport hubs to detect and deter crime from these areas,” the spokesperson said.

“Through WYNSAFE, police are proactively working with local shopping strips, gymnasiums, fitness centres, and local councils to maximise public safety, and boost crime prevention measures to further deter criminal activity.”