‘Scared’, ‘Intimidated’, and ‘Unsafe’ to use Crookes Valley Park

Written by Meng Feng

An online petition has been launched to push Sheffield council to install better pathway lighting on Crookes Valley Park, where many people described their experience as “scared”, “intimidated”, and “unsafe” while accessing the venue.

This unlit park is recognised as a serious risk of sexual violence and drownings for the many who use the green space in the dark.

Amelia Hancock, 21, the founder of petition of Light Crookes Valley Park Up said: “COVID-19 has taught everybody to make use of our local green spaces. Crookes Valley Park is a precious space that is enjoyed by the local community.

“However, encouraging even greater use of the park while not investing in safety measures is negligent and irresponsible at best, callous at worst.”

A sexual assault was reported at Weston Park in which a 21-year-old victim woke up without memory in 2017, which led to a similar online petition urging Sheffield Council to install additional lighting. While some lights were achieved at Weston Park, adjacent Crookes Valley Park remains unlit.

Date from Police UK showcases there were six recorded violent crimes from January to October 2021.

In early 2021, Our Bodies Our Streets gathered over 3,000 signatures on a petition with a series of demands to Sheffield Council. They demanded better lighting in parks to help women and minority groups feel safer.

Despite the 5,600 signatures the petition has now, moving presentations given to the council and a well-run campaign, responsibility was waived.

Ms Hancock said path lighting serves as a crime deterrent to enhance the chances that an offender will be noticed by a witness and so recognised, but the concrete process was frustrating.

She said: “Undoubtedly, wider change is required to erase the issue of violent attacks, but the council has the opportunity to quite literally provide light in future situations and perhaps even prevent them.

“In fact, the concrete was not broken at all with not a single light installed.”

It is believed going through the park is the most convenient way home for students who study at Western Bank Library and the Information Commons.

Additionally, the park is incredibly important for those attending Sheffield Children’s Hospital or Royal Hallamshire Hospital as staff and patients.

Ms Hancock said: “Our well-used park cannot be an afterthought, we cannot wait for the next horrifying publicised incident to try to scare our representatives into action.

The city council is yet to respond.

Written by Meng Feng

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