Cheltenham is often spoke about for its night life in the center of town and the surrounding areas are overlooked. The streets become quiet, and often put intoxicated students at risk. Through my images, I aim to present the absence of people in these areas, and how their remains are left.
These images show the crime rates in Cheltenham. Although the majority of the crime rates are in the centre of town, many lay on the surrounding roads, particularly around the university. Many of the crimes are in the ‘Violent and sexual offences’ and ‘Anti Social Behaviour’.
Whilst Cheltenham does have the ‘Cheltenham street pastors’, they do not work on student nights, only weekends. This lowers the safety in the quiet streets whilst students are returning from their nights out. Cheltenham is currently putting money in to street lights and extra cameras to try and reduce these rates.
I decided to get interviews from several students that have been in uni for one or more year already, so they understand the nature of the town. I am only using students as this is who it is directed at, and they may have a different understanding of the town to those who are not at university here. The key things I asked them to address was:
- How safe do you feel when you leave the centre of town at night
- How does the centre differentiate from the surrounding streets
Anonymous – As a young female, I do not feel safe walking alone in the surrounding areas of Cheltenham at night. As soon as you leave the town, if you are alone I feel like you are immediately vulnerable. I have heard a lot of stories of crime and attacks in this area since living here.
Kath – Compared to where I live, I do not feel safe walking into town. After a drunk man stopped me in town and warned me not to walk home alone I’ve always got into a taxi since. A couple of my female friends have had scary experiences near the university which I feel should be addressed more by the university and put more safety measures in place.
Laura – I feel the surrounding areas of town are slightly unsafe compared to where I live back at home. Although I do still venture out on my own when it’s dark walking to the gym I am always vigilant and feel a little intimidated in the less well lit areas. I often see groups of people just stood outside their houses watching passers by and also hear cars speeding up and down the main road.
Cheltenham Street pastors- Having recently achieved the purple flag status, Cheltenham has been recognised as a safe town for both residents and revellers. At weekends, Cheltenham Street Pastors are available to ensure people are taken safely home, either on foot or accompanied to the taxi rank. Our priority is to help the vulnerable through listening, caring and helping.
We patrol down alleyways where on many occasions there have been folk in need of help who otherwise might have be alone all night and not getting the medical attention they require.
The street pastors patrol 10pm to 4am and they are reliable team who care for the community and keen to help, whether it be handing out water, administering first aid or to simply just listen to those who want to talk to someone.
Tom – It’s quite clear that Cheltenham has a very large problem with crime related to the night time economy, large groups or individuals lurking in its many alleyways which make me feel very uncomfortable for example I never walk with headphones in at night for he feeling of someone walking up behind me.
Jamie – I am a 20 year old male living in cheltenham and I work late in to the night/ into the early hours of the morning. At work I am surrounded by drunken students and for part of the way home I get confronted by those same drunken students. As I get to the lower High Street during the night, the atmosphere gets much more tense. I feel intimidated and vulnerable. I feel as though Cheltenham has two halves; the upper High street and the Lower High street. The upper High Street always feels safe because it is well lit and always busy. However, the Lower high street makes me very wary, as there are a lot of homeless alcoholics and ‘stabby’ people. It is also not very well lit.