The City says it is looking at ways to make Bellville’s Jack Muller Park safer following a spate of crimes there.
Previously, Northern News reported on a woman being mugged while visiting the municipal park with her baby last year (“Jack Muller Park mugging: City was warned about poor security, says civic group,” Northern News, November 10”).
The City’s recreation and parks department says there has been an increase in muggings and other crime in the area since the start of the year.
The incidents include vandalism of the urinals, the pump house, parked vehicles and the perimeter wall as well as bark stripping and theft of personal belongings and at least one vehicle, according to City spokesman Jan Kruger.
Bellville police spokesman Captain Aubrey Morwenyane confirmed that a vehicle had been stolen at the park and that one theft-out-of-a-vehicle case had been reported to the police in the past two months.
There had also been two daytime robberies at the park last month, he said
Most of the crimes happened during the day when the park was quiet, he said.
Wimpie Els, a member of the Friends of the Jack Muller Park, said there was far too much crime at the park.
“It seems like women are being targeted, and we suspect it’s more than one robber. They always flee towards the N1 where we have the squatting problems. Far too many of these incidents, more than two in the recent months, are taking place and the park’s managers are aware of all the incidents.”
There were not enough security guards at the park, he said.
“The deployment of security and the motivation in support of allocation is highly questionable, and we, as rate-paying citizens, are paying the price. This is a matter raised at all our meetings as Friends of JMP and Park management.”
Boston Community Improvement District (CID) manager Jean Beukman said their officers were helping with extra patrols in the area.
It would take “skilled and decisive action” from the City’s recreation and parks department to improve security at the park, he said.
“New innovative actioning, proactive preventative measures are what we want to see. No abdication of responsibility to civic organisations.”
Mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Roos said the recreation and parks department was working with City law enforcement to tackle the problem; an access controller had been appointed in December last year and would be there until the end of June; and Bellville South police, the Boston CID and Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District were patrolling the park.
“The department will continue to review its safety and security arrangements and explore other forms of additional security resources for the park and consider what improvements are possible as a matter of priority to ensure the safety of the users,” she said.