How safe are our streets?
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
A RAPE and a vicious bashing in Gladstone's CBD this month have parents throughout the region questioning the safety of their children at night.
A Tannum Sands torture case and an attempted rape trial this month have also highlighted the dangers our youths are faced with.
As a mother of two teenagers, Jenny D'Arcy does not want her children walking home by themselves late at night, no matter what the reason.
"If they couldn't get a cab they know they can phone me at any time and I'll come and get them, but I certainly would prefer they didn't walk home, it's just too dangerous in this day and age,'' Mrs D'Arcy said.
"When we were young if a fight was to start it was between two people and someone would try to step in and stop it, but these days it seems to be more of a gang-type mentality and everyone gets involved and has their piece which is horrible, but it seems to be happening regularly.''
She said while she believed it was a parent's responsibility to know where their kids were and educate them about personal safety, at some point parents had to trust their children.
Eighteen-year-old Dave Connolly said while he went out with friends most weekends, he would ring a friend or get a taxi rather than walk home.
"If I was going to walk home, it would be in a group because on your own there's a chance something could go wrong and it's not worth the risk,'' he said.
Dave said when he was out with mates they would "look out for each other''.
"If someone had a go at me then I'd be watching out and I wouldn't leave the pub by myself, but it comes down to the crowd you hang out with ? most people just go out to have a few beers and some fun and it's only a few that look for trouble,'' he said.
Gladstone Police Sergeant Roger Williams said it was "best to avoid travelling alone'' and young people in particular should always let someone know where they were.
"People should avoid walking late at night altogether and instead get a taxi or rely on family or friends for a lift,'' he said. Sgt Williams said while young people were more likely to take these types of risks, it was often young intoxicated people that were targeted.
"If we can have less of those (intoxicated youngsters) on the streets at night then we will reduce the incidence of this type of offence,'' Sgt Williams said.
Almost 500 sexual offences and assaults were recorded in Gladstone in 2003.