New buddy app to help night-time economy workers feel safer

Crime and disorder at night on Cardiff’s most popular streets prove to be a major concern for those working at licensed premises

people walking on a busy street with many shops
Queen Street is one of the three most dangerous streets in the city centre after dark. Photo: Eszter Gurbicz

A safety app initiative is among projects which try to help make walking around Cardiff safer for its night-time economy workers. 

Called RouteBuddies, the app has been developed by Cardiff University graduate Jack Blundell, and was created to help people get home safe by finding groups they can walk with. 

As a new report reveals streets in the city centre are the most dangerous ones in the Welsh capital, the venue-based walking groups could reduce risk for those working late in to the night.

The number of cases of anti-social behaviour in the centre, which is home to over 300 licensed premises, is still above ward average, the council report revealed. Wales Online wrote that in the last financial year there were 1256 reported cases of “violence against the person” offences in the centre during the night-time economy hours.

Niya Dobreva, 23, used to work in a bar on Castle Street. Leaving the venue during her breaks was something she was always worried about. “I had to go pick up food while people were drunk outside, partying, and I’ve been catcalled multiple times,” she said.  

Blundell is now working on partnering with bars across Cardiff to help staff during their journeys to and from a venue. Among the bars joining the upcoming trials are Revolution and Revolución De Cuba. 

pub selling a variety of beer types
Most alcohol-related crimes in the centre happen around licensed premises. Photo: George Bakos, Unsplash

The secure platform will enable enrolled staff to look for walking groups on busy nights. They will also have access to a private feed and an in-app map containing crimes from the UK Police database so they can stay aware of risks in their area. 

Blundell said: “I’m looking forward to connecting with more businesses and other community types to give people the freedom to walk the streets without fear. It’s about time!”

Other resources and organisations around Cardiff which work on making the city safer for everyone:
  • Safety Bus: Staffed by two volunteers and a police officer on Wednesday (Term Time), Friday and Saturday nights, they respond to calls from licensed venues across the city and support vulnerable individuals to a place of safety. They also recently received national recognition for their work in tackling violence against women and girls.
  • SafeZone app: Used on university campuses, the app enables students to alert Security Services or South Wales Police when they need help or assistance. It can also send location-based alerts and access emergency response and first-aid.
  • StaySafe Cardiff: Is a multi-agency project which aims to keep young people safe in Cardiff.
  • FOR Cardiff: Are involved in a range of projects making Cardiff safer such as the Night Marshal Team, Street Pastors and the Safety Bus.