Street gangs have “continually overrun” a Tarneit park, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on security services for nearby residents.
The owners corporation manager of the Cindia Crescent park, Strata Data, this week said it “had made many attempts” to “return a safe place back to the owner and residents”.
“This is a particularly complicated issue and one that the owners and residents at Ecoville shouldn’t have to deal with,” Strata Data said in a statement.
“An owners corporation does not have the necessary power or resources to deal with street gangs.”
The Cindia Crescent park has become notorious for vandalism and criminal activity, with numerous reports of underage drinking, drug taking and anti-social behaviour in the past 12 months.
Nearby residents have described the park as “a joke”.
“We’ve had African youths in numbers upwards of 80 destroying the place and running wild,” one resident said late last year.
“Some [residents] say they’re too afraid to leave their home after dark.”
Strata Data has until now declined to respond to Star Weekly requests for comment.
In a statement released this week, Strata Data said that it “had made many attempts to effect a resolution” in the past 18 months.
“This has included holding numerous meetings with local council, Victoria Police, community outreach groups, and community elders – all to try and return a safe space back to the owners and residents at Ecoville,” the statement read.
“In addition, over the past 18 months the owners corporation has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars repairing damage at the property and attempting to provide an effective security service for residents, only for the property and its residents to be continually overrun by various street gangs.”
The statement said that Strata Data and the owners corporation were “completely focused on finding and implementing a workable solution”.
It did not detail what kinds of safety measures had been put in place at the park in the past 18 months, although it is understood that security guards previously patrolled the site.
In May last year, Wyndham council recommended to Strata Data that security guards be re-installed at the park.
At the time, the council’s director of city life, Jenny McMahon, said the council had also been in touch with the owners’ corporation to suggest the implementation of a graffiti management plan and repairs to the site.
On Tuesday, Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said that police would deploy a gang crime squad to Wyndham and an additional 17 officers would be stationed in the area as part of a Victoria Police plan to crack down on African youth street gangs.