The Salina Park in Qawra once used to be a family park, but has become unsafe for families at it is overrun with youths playing loud music and football, one St. Paul’s Bay resident said.
“It’s meant to be a family area, but families don’t dare to walk around. You need to keep up your guard,” she said.
She lives in a residential area just up the road from Salina Park, and has been concerned about the park for a while. The straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident with her 13-month old son, who got hit by a football.
“There are signs saying ‘no football’ in the park, yet it is constantly overruled by youths kicking around a ball – and not being particularly careful. You try to walk past and it’s impossible to even move. Last week, I asked them to move over to the other side”, she said.
A pregnant woman was hit in the stomach the other day and the police had to be called. The staff of the Melita Gardens coffee shop once saw a bike ride into a pushchair. Another little kid was left with a black eye as he was hit in the face by the ball.
The local woman also knows of two young girls being followed around by an old man who was blowing kisses at them. “In the bottom of the park, a strange man often walks around staring at children.”
And it isn’t limited to black eyes and staring. The woman relates how people were caught having sex in the unoccupied security huts in the park, while lots of kids go there unattended after school. “I wonder if parents know that,” the woman said.
Rulebreakers run rampant, as there is only one security guard in the whole park. “There is a lack of police, a lack of everything.”
The security ward said it’s a ‘nightmare’, as it is just him by himself from the top of the car park to the bottom of the park.
There is ‘absolutely no enforcement’, and as outdoor spaces are already limited in the area, there is a desperate need for more safe outdoor areas.
“It’s becoming a ghetto”, the local said. “How is one guard supposed to control the entire park?”
Ticking time bomb
“They just don’t care, they left it to the dogs,” she continued. “It’s a ticking time bomb. They’re waiting for a kid to get kidnapped or someone to get seriously hurt.”
The police were called several times for incidents in the park, said the security guard. “The beautiful family park is being left to disasters,” he said in agreement with the lady. “You can’t even enjoy the park.”
With a large population and a massive influx of residents, St. Paul’s Bay is one of Malta’s most crowded areas. “We need police here. There is a lack of enforcement everywhere. Someone needs to step up and look into these incidents.”
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