Town Mouse on walking home at night

Would you walk around the city late at night? Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, this week admitted that she wouldn’t. There then ensued the usual hue and cry was this an admission that under Labour our streets have become more dangerous, not less? And there are, after all, thousands of shift workers who have no choice about walking home in the small hours.

This issue of walking about at night is a tricky one. I’m inclined to believe it’s not as bad as you might think, and nothing has ever (touch wood) happened to me. But I stick to main, well-lit streets, I keep my keys in my hand, I don’t flash my diamonds and I don’t talk on the phone. You can put off anyone following you by singing loudly, walking in the middle of the road (not one with lots of traffic on it, obviously) and doing unattractive things, such as burping loudly.

Ultimately, I don’t want to be cowed if I want to live in my city, I want the freedom to live safely and not feel threatened by the tiny minority of thugs. But it could be worse I could be living in 15th-century London.