Safety a high priority for the Kingston community and Council
Published on 25 June 2021
Eight weeks into the launch of the joint YourGround project, more than 135 pins have been placed on an interactive map of the City of Kingston by community members sharing their experiences and perceptions of safety within local streets, parks, trails, and recreational spaces.
Created by Monash University’s gender, design and space specialists, XYX Lab, and award-winning digital consultancy, CrowdSpot, YourGround aims to gather perceptions of safety experienced by women and gender diverse community members in public spaces and make real change in our local area.
The project, which runs until late July, is being run in partnership with 22 local government areas across Victoria. Since its launch on 27 April there have been more than 2200 pins placed on the YourGround map.
The City of Kingston is currently rating fifth in community engagement, for the number of pins which have been placed on the interactive map.
Kingston Mayor Steve Staikos said he was pleased to see our community get behind this online mapping project, as it provides Council with invaluable information about how public spaces are being experienced by residents and visitors alike.
“Both safety and perceptions of safety are a very high priority to Council – not only for the health and wellbeing benefits to individuals, but because they provide positive flow-on impacts such as social interaction, economic growth, civic pride and participation,” said Cr Staikos.
Results so far have shown that 40 per cent of respondents do not return alone to areas they feel unsafe in, while 13 per cent never go back.
Kingston Councillor and Victoria’s Gender Equality Advisory Committee member Jenna Davey-Burns said we need to use this information to shape a municipality that everyone feels safe in.
“This project helps us understand community experiences of safety, particularly those of women and girls in our community,” said Cr Davey-Burns. “This lived experience is crucial to understand as it can help inform policy decisions and assist Council when developing community projects and city-wide strategies.”
“Women and girls’ safety are a cornerstone of achieving gender equality and we want Kingston to be a leader in achieving this."
Involvement in YourGround is just one of the many ways the City of Kingston is prioritising safety for its community. There are 44 CCTV cameras currently installed across Kingston, in areas identified as priorities, from the foreshore to parks, car parks, shopping centres, public transport stops and housing developments.
“Council works with Victoria Police to identify these priority locations – and footage from Kingston's Public Surveillance CCTV Cameras is supplied to Victoria Police for the purpose of responding to or investigating a reported crime,” said Cr Staikos.
Council also works with community groups to apply for grants through the Victorian Government’s Community Crime Prevention Program, which implements safety upgrades in parks, walk-ways and other key sites.
“Over the last few years Kingston has received more than $1 million to fund 31 projects, which range from graffiti prevention to fencing and lighting projects for the community,” Cr Staikos said.
To view or participate in the YourGround interactive maps visit yourground.org. For details on safety initiatives and CCTV cameras in Kingston visit our website.