The Salisbury Soroptimists has completed its most recent round of street lighting audits.

The audit took place on Monday, February 13, and the group monitored places across the city that could benefit from better lighting or other measures.

It's part of an 18-month-old women’s safety initiative, which was sparked in reaction to the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021.

Multiple city councillors have joined the Soroptimists in their audits, including Lynne Blackwood, Eleanor Wills, Sven Hocking and Mayor Tom Corbin.

Salisbury Journal:

Liz Batten, who has played a leadership role in the Women’s Safety Initiative, said: “When that first happened, I think everyone was shocked, weren’t they, and we just felt it was a bit of a watershed moment to stand up and say, ‘Actually, I’ve felt unsafe on my own and I now feel less safe now that I know that serving police officers could be the person that attack you,’ and we’re not saying that everybody’s like Wayne Couzens, but we are saying it is a risk.”

Though Salisbury is not as problematic as other cities, Liz and her colleagues have found room for improvement.

Liz said: “On the whole, we felt it’s quite a safe city, actually. As cities go, it’s not bad. But we did feel there were things we could do to make everybody feel more comfortable, particularly at night, and particularly if you’re on your own.”

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Improved lighting in pedestrian areas is a special focus.

Liz said: “The other thing we asked for, which hasn’t yet happened and we’re going to raise again, is the idea of having good lighting at the exits of all of these tunnels and subways and underpasses and we also suggested having a big mirror at the end, because if you’re walking through a subway and there’s a big mirror at the end and you can see kind of what on each side what’s going on, you can make a decision to keep walking and if you don’t like the look of it you can turn around and go a different way.”

Another goal of proposed improvements is deterrence of anti-social behaviour and other activity that could pose dangers to women and other residents.

Liz said: "It just makes it feel safer, and it’s also a deterrent. There’s lots of deterrents in all of this, because if places are well-lit and there’s lots of mirrors and there’s lots of white spaces, it’s a lot easier for people to see you and if you’re up to no good, you’re not going to lurk around in those areas. You’re going to go somewhere dark, somewhere where you can’t be seen.”