'Walk smart' for a safe night out

NEWCASTLE City Council will develop safer pedestrian routes in a bid to combat a rise in street crime and alcohol-fuelled violence in the central business district.

The council's latest community safety initiative entitled "Walk Smart" identifies secure walking routes for visitors to the Newcastle CBD, Hamilton and Islington at night.

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The Newcastle Herald reported in March that senior police had put thugs on notice after a string of king-hits and random acts of violence in the city.

The safety routes, which are broken up into six sectors, were developed by the council in consultation with Newcastle City police and Newcastle-Hamilton Liquor Accord representatives.

The plan suggests revellers stick to main roads like Darby Street, Beaumont Street, Hunter Street and King Street and use public transport to travel between venues or home rather than walking through suburban streets.

There are plans to mark the paths with signage this year, the council said.

The routes will have more pedestrian activity and traffic as well as a commitment from Newcastle police for regular patrols.

To further enhance safety, council is working with Ausgrid, Newcastle Now, Hamilton Business Improvement Association, local businesses and commercial property owners to upgrade lighting.

Walk Smart routes are also close to bus stops, secure taxi ranks and the Newcastle, Wickham, Civic and Hamilton railway stations.

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