Sunderland’s Mowbray park was the hub of over 100 crimes in 2015, new figures have shown.
Figures from the Police.uk website show that just this one park and its surrounding areas (Burdon Road, Borough Road, Toward Road and Park Road) have been the hub of over 100 crimes in 2015.
The crimes recorded range from anti-social behaviour and public orders to violence and sexual assaults, with 118 reported between January and October 2015.
Two rape cases in broad day light also happened in the park in September 2014 and 2015.
Shop assistant Lynn Lowden, 40, voiced her concerns about her own safety. She said: “I don’t feel safe walking through any park these days.
“You used to know everybody when I was younger, but now there are so many strangers about.
“I fear for my own safety… Parks need more lighting, and if there is that many things happening there should be visible cameras so people know they are being watched.”
Fay Farrow and Michelle Fife from Prestige Nursing, an office near the park, said: “As an office, we don’t feel safe working so close to Mowbray, especially, in the dark nights.
“It isn’t safe to even walk on your own to your car.
“We have invested in alarms for the staff and premises in order to try keep them safe.”
The City and Neighborhood department at Sunderland Council are responsible for the parks in the region, a spokesperson from the department gave SR News the following statement:
“Each of our parks is managed by a different site manager. We have people look after our parks to keep them presentable and a nice place for people to visit.
“We are sorry to hear that this historic park has attracted a range of criminal activity, but we work closely with the police and have invested in cameras and lights to make it a safe place for people to visit.”
Another Freedom of Information request to the Sunderland City Council showed that money spent on cultural related services has been slashed by 11m since 2012.
Edward Dinsdale, who is now retired but used to work for the council at different parks, said: “During my time working in the region’s parks, I did see some crime and vandalism, and Mowbray attracted some strange characters who I was there. But nothing really happened during the hours I worked.
“Parks in general aren’t places people should visit alone but, especially, Mowbray, with it being in the city centre, it’s a scary place for anyone to be.”
Chief Inspector Dave Willett said: “We know the impact incidents such as these can have on our communities and I’d like to reassure local residents that extra officers will be on patrol.
“In addition, we have worked closely with the local authority to ensure lighting and security in the park.”
Anyone who witnesses a crime at all are urged to phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.