What you need to know about safety in the Meadows

An assault happens almost every fortnight

Coming to the end of Freshers’ Week, I’m sure it has not gone unnoticed that there is a vast, readily-accessible patch of grass right by where you’re living/learning, otherwise known as the Meadows.

Most of you will have probably already walked through or had a nice sit-down with your new best friends.

By all means you should happily make use of the Meadows, but you should also be aware of some of the dangers.

It’s reported by the police that there is on average an assault almost every fortnight in the Meadows, including 12 cases of sexual offences in the last five years. Whilst some victims have been Edinburgh locals, a proportion of these victims are also students.

For instance, in 2014 a second year student was raped after walking back from a night out, right beside Jawbone Walk, the most popular walking path to get from campus to the Marchmont/Bruntsfield area. Startlingly, this same walkway has been the sight of several over incidents.

Jawbone Walk

Last year, a second year student was attacked and hospitalised after a man smashed a bottle across his head, whilst in the same year another first year was pinned down by a man who wouldn’t let her leave – fortunately, she managed to escape and call the police).

Most students probably have a story to tell about an incident that’s happened to themselves, or, someone they know, when walking through the Meadows at night.

Despite the common knowledge of the danger that is presented by the Meadows, there has been little obvious effort or change by the council to implement any further security, such as police surveillance, CCTV or better lighting.

Last year a petition by Elizabeth Kerry, manager of the Meadow Court accommodation, was signed by over 3000 people and demanded such measures to be taken. It was rejected down to cost and the trees impeding CCTV sighting.

In many cases it is unavoidable to walk across the Meadows late at night, but if you have to do it, try to make sure you’re with someone, or at the very least, a £4 taxi is always preferable to walking alone.