Drug cases isolated

2017-04-04 06:03

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Security agencies are keeping a close eye on the Mill Street skate park, following the discovery of drug paraphernalia.

However, it appears the reports of drug paraphernalia found in the skate park, made a few months ago, are isolated incidents, says Nicola Jowell, chairperson of the Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF).

Local police were notified by the CPF following the reports, Jowell says.

“Since then I have seen one report of a syringe found in the road next to the park but we are not sure if it had been used for the taking of drugs. We have also had a report from eyewitnesses a few months ago – shortly after the drugs paraphernalia was found – that two of our well-known homeless people were seen late at night in an adjacent parking lot using heroin,” she explains.

Cape Town Central police had not commented at the time of going to print.

“These are isolated cases as far as we are aware. The police were asked to conduct interventions here which they did do, but no drug incidents were discovered and no arrests made,” she says.

“Reports of drug usage in the space can and will deter the community from using the skate park which would only compound the problem. We are confident that although isolated reports have been received they are just that, isolated. There is no cause for widespread concern. A disused park, whether it is the skate park or any other area, will compound any antisocial behaviour and will enable this to continue and increase.”

Suzette Little, Mayco member (North), says the City of Cape Town’s recreation and parks department has not received any complaints about drug use in the park.

“The area is cleaned every weekday by staff employed through the expanded public works programme and is locked at night by security staff at the MyCiTi station.”

However, the matter will be highlighted with the City’s Law Enforcement department for investigation and further action if needed.

“The City places a major emphasis on youth development and providing safe, quality programmes and facilities which encourage the youth to stay active and engaged in socially cohesive and healthy activities and away from antisocial behaviour. It is disheartening that the very spaces created for this purpose at times become havens for criminal elements,” Little says.

“When there is a perception that a public space is unsafe, it tends to drive away law-abiding residents, making them even more alluring to criminal elements. The City simply does not have the budget to have security or a law enforcement presence at all public facilities all of the time. We therefore appeal to communities to work with us by reclaiming their spaces and driving out undesirable elements, but also by flagging complaints or concerns as soon as they become aware of them.”

Jowell adds the best deterrent for any drug use in the area would be the community using the skate park for its intended purpose.

“A quiet unused skate park would be an ideal place for the use of drugs as it is out of the eyeline of passing traffic. However, the fact that it is well used negates the available time for any negative activity to take place. A presence of police and security from the MyCiti bus stop will also assist with this,” she says.

Residents can report crime or concerns to their local police or the City’s communication centre by calling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.

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