Don't walk here at night

THE vicious Christmas Day bashing of a 19-year-old man in Murwillumbah's Knox Park has reinforced fears among the town's residents that the park is a dangerous place to walk at night.

The victim of the latest bashing was found in the park on Christmas night with severe head injuries.

After initial treatment at Murwillumbah and The Tweed Hospitals, he was transferred to the Gold Coast Hospital's intensive care unit.

Murwillumbah resident Bob Dow, who was outspoken during a community forum earlier this year on the crime problem, said many people would not walk near the park at night and the situation had worsened.

His comments come despite claims last week by National Party state MP Thomas George that the situation had improved.

"I've just talked to a woman who lives near the park and she says it's worse. I agree with her," Mr Dow said. "I certainly wouldn't go there at night.

"She said she had been advised by police if anyone comes near her house to ring them immediately.

"I walk through Knox Park every day and there is more broken glass in the park now than there ever was. Near the skatepark there's broken glass from one end of the road to the other."

Mr Dow said he believed the mess was caused by teenagers as young as 13 who drank alcohol in the park at night, breaking the bottles and leaving cans strewn about.

"There's no police presence," he said, adding: "Where are the parents?"

Mr Dow who is a member of a Heart Foundation group which walks the town on Wednesdays and Saturdays, said the group recently found two wheelie bins full of liquor bottles and cans at the Knox Park rotunda, despite an alcohol ban in the park.

"They must have had a party and would have been there for some time," he said. "Surely someone would have seen them there."

Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber president and local councillor Phil Youngblutt said he believed the Christmas Day bashing was an "isolated case" but agreed many people in the town were scared of walking in Knox Park at night time.

Cr Youngblutt said the situation should soon change after long-awaited Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) security cameras are installed throughout the CBD.

The 24-hour cameras are expected to be installed in February next year.

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