Druggies ‘steal’ park

2015-07-14 06:00
Retreat residents are calling on the police and local ward councillor to take action to deter “gangsters and drug dealers” from frequenting a local park in the community.

astrid februarie

Retreat residents are calling on the police and local ward councillor to take action to deter “gangsters and drug dealers” from frequenting a local park in the community. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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A public park in Retreat has become the “playground for drug dealers and gangsters”.

According to residents who frequent the park, often with their children, people are being threatened and robbed daily.

A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity in fear of being victimised, says that “gangsters and drug dealers” are making it difficult for children to enjoy the park.

“We have to watch our children while they play in the park while the drug dealers openly do their business and if we dare confront them they intimidate us with threats of hurting us,” she says.

She says the park used to be a safe place and parents did not have to sit and watch their children with concern or fear.

“We have lost all hope and do not know what to do anymore. But what we do want is for the police to intervene and to patrol in this area. I am sure their presence will make a difference,” she says.

Ward councillor Kevin Southgate says the park “is currently being used by a number of youths smoking drugs”.

“They then interfere and harass pedestrians, often threating to rob or assault them. It is also alleged that they are selling drugs from the park. The drugs are apparently hidden below the school fence,” he says.

Southgate says the youngsters “have become so brazen” that they use drugs in full view of the public.

“What was of further concern to residents was that a police patrol vehicle just aimlessly drove by without addressing the situation. It is this apparent lack of response by law enforcement agencies that is creating the negative perception in the community towards law enforcement agencies,” he says.

Southgate says that “reports show a high concentration of patrols in other areas of subcouncil 20 as opposed to Retreat”.

“Although I have reported this matter on more than one occasion, residents should be encouraged to register their complaints by sending an SMS to 31373 or calling law enforcement,” he says.

Serious situationHe further says that this “delinquent behaviour by the youth should not be tolerated”.

“I’m afraid the longer we wait to deal with this situation the more serious it will become. Residents deserve to live in an environment that is clean, safe and secure and we have to do whatever we can to ensure that,” he says.

Another resident who also forms part of an informal neighbourhood watch says she has had enough of the behaviour of the youth in the area.

“They come and disturb the neighbourhood. They make us feel unsafe. We have to monitor our children all the time and sometimes they can’t even play in the park and it is unfair,” she says.

She says she has received threats – messages passed onto her through the children who play in the park.

“These messages come from the gangsters. I have been told that they will hurt me if I try to stop them from doing their business. It is sad because many of them are children I used to care for when they were younger,” she says.

She also urges the police to take action and to come out when they are called by residents

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