More and more, residents and neighbourhoods are concerned about safety issues in their neighbourhoods. Their fears are heightened when serious or even tragic events happen in their area. These concerns are felt especially by older people, by parents of young children, and by women.
Neighbourhood safety is a complex issue. Green spaces that have hugely positive local benefits can become a source of concern if they are they become a gathering place for groups of young people. Residents are fearful of improving those spaces with seating or pocket playground equipment lest those really nice facilities may draw unhelpful behaviour. On the other hand, young people who simply want to ‘hang out’ can feel unfairly labelled as trouble makers.
The Joint Policing Committee for the Dundrum area is made up of Gardai, Councillors and community representatives. It s remit is to advise on the Council and the Gardai can do everything possible to improve safety ad quality of life, to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. The annual public meeting is a real opportunity for local people to engage with the Gardai and the Council and work together for a safe county.
But we also need big strategic and positive thinking about how to build a safe county for all the generations and all the members of our communities. Dublin City Council, for example has adopted the Safe Cities Programme, which is linked to the UN Safe Cities Global Programme, focused on women’s safety.
I believe that Dun Laoghaire Rathdown should look seriously at a Safe County Programme, to address all the complex issues around safe communities. I will certainly press for this if re-elected.