Activist Chloe Fojtik was bitterly disappointed by what she called the county council’s insulting response to her petition for better street lighting.
Stratford resident Chloe, 23, started the petition in March after women shared harrowing stories of sexual harassment following the murder of Sarah Everard. In the petition, which had more than 3,866 signatures, she called on the Warwickshire Country Council to keep the street lights which usually go out at midnight.
She said, “This is something close to my heart. With what happened to Sarah Everard, it amplified this feeling of not feeling safe at night. “
In 2013, the county council made a decision to turn off around 5,000 street lights across the county between midnight and 5:30 a.m. as part of a cost-cutting program.
Chloe presented the petition at a plenary council meeting in July. At the time, she spoke at length about women’s experiences and the need to help them feel safer on the streets.
However, when Cllr Wallace Redford, holder of the Transportation and Planning portfolio, sent her a response to her petition outlining the follow-up to the advice, Chloe was furious when he failed to mention women’s safety.
Instead, Cllr Wallace said, “After carefully considering your request, we have decided to undertake a thorough analysis of the types of crimes that affect people in a public place, as well as crimes such as residential burglary, theft and theft of motor vehicles. , and commercial burglary during the night period.
He concluded: “If there is a need to refresh our policy, we will do so, especially taking into account the implications of climate change. “
Chloe said the response was “insulting” and “disappointing”.
In a letter to Cllr Redford: “The women who have been assaulted because what appears to be the direct result of the streetlights going out at night has not even been recognized and it is deeply upsetting.
“Unfortunately, this response showed that Warwickshire County Council doesn’t seem to care, or even recognize the fear women feel when they come home, in the dark, with the lampposts turned off.”
Chloe concluded, “The women who have contacted me personally to tell me their stories deserve better.”
Meanwhile, Warwickshire Police have announced that they are participating in the national StreetSafe online tool which allows people to report places where they have felt unsafe.
The system – which is primarily aimed at women and girls – allows the public to anonymously drop a pin on a map and describe the factors that have concerned them.
See Thursday’s Herald for Warwickshire County Council’s response.