Ten months after the brutal rape and murder of Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe, the state government has announced a project to increase safety in the area. The project will include the installation of an additional 23 light posts along the stretch of road that Aiia was abducted from in an attempt to prevent another tragedy in the area.
Aiia was just 21-years-old when she was brutally murdered after getting off a tram in Bundoora on January 16, 2019. She should have been safe.
“Aiia’s death was a tragedy and should not have happened,” local Mayor Susan Rennie told Herald Sun.
The project follows an overwhelming push from locals to make the area safer for students and residents who should be able to walk home at night without fearing for their safety and ultimately, their life.
An additional 23 lights will be installed along the stretch of Plenty Road where Aiia’s body was found, in addition to the four that were added immediately following her death. The project will cost $242,800, but that’s a small price to pay to protect the lives of the community’s most vulnerable people.
$184,000 of the funding comes from the State Government, with the local Darebin Council adding an additional $58,800 to complete the project.
The particular stretch of road in question is frequently used by people from all walks of life, but its connection of La Trobe University, student accomodation blocks and the local Polaris Shopping Centre makes it particularly popular for young university students who deserve to feel safe when walking home.
“The council believes there’s no place for any kind of violence in our community and everyone has the right to get home safely,” Susan Rennie said.
Back in January, Aiia got off the 86 tram on Plenty Road, like many other students do on a daily basis. However, she was stalked, raped and eventually murdered by 20-year-old Codey Herrmann while she was harmlessly trying to walk home.
Aiia Maasarwe had only been in Australia for six months as part of a study abroad program at the time of her death. She was murdered less than 1km from her home in conditions that are too brutal to be described. She deserved to feel safe.
Crime Prevention Minister Benn Carrol has publicly stated that the project is a direct result of a push from local residents wanting additional safety measures in their own community.
The upgrade will begin on Main Drive in 2020, with the council currently looking at additional upgrades to the shopping centre and La Trobe University in future.