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Call for lights in park

SARAH ROBERTS
Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014
Helena Fairhurst and Helen Geraghty
Sarah Roberts
ANGRY RESIDENTS: Helena Fairhurst and Helen Geraghty want lights and security cameras in Takaanini Reserve to reduce crime.

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Fights, drinking, drug-taking and even sex sessions have people living by a community park up in arms.

Almost 300 Takanini residents have signed a petition calling on the Papakura Local Board to install lights at Takaanini Reserve.

Police had 42 phone calls in relation to incidents at the park in one fortnight, petition organiser Helena Fairhurst says.

Large groups of youths are fighting, there are bag snatchings and people drink and take drugs at the reserve all the time, she says.

"Youths from out of town are jumping off trains, going down there and creating trouble."

Fairhurst believes the people causing chaos are aged 15 to 18.

"Police are always at the park. They've got better things to do with their time. We need to find a solution before someone gets killed.

"It's unfair to the kids. They should have the freedom to play in the reserve. Instead they are getting their scooters snatched."

Fairhurst says having lights and security cameras could help with the problem.

She has found syringes, broken bottles and a half a crate of beer at the park.

"There are two liquor stores nearby and this is only contributing to the problem," she says.

Elderly people living in a nearby rest home are also worried for their safety.

"When I sit outside at night you can even hear people having sex in the reserve," she says.

The residents voiced their concerns at the Papakura Local Board last month. Its members told them the suggestion of lights would be discussed in a meeting with Auckland Council's parks, sports and recreation department.

Board chairman Bill McEntee could not be contacted for comment before the Papakura Courier went to press.

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- Papakura Courier

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