WITH reference to your article “Thugs Return to Settlers Park” (Herald, September 13), the Baakens Valley Community Partnership (BVCP), led by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Wessa, would like to respond, as it conveys a distorted image of the Baakens.
The BVCP has worked exceedingly hard to reduce the very high historic levels of crime, as reported in the article. As a result, we had just two incidents for all of last year and six this year.
We have achieved this through deploying a squad of Baakens Valley rangers, who patrol the valley every day. They work in partnership with the police, the SAPS mounted unit, Atlas and ADT. We have developed a security map with these partners and have bolstered security in Settlers Park by bringing in the Swartkops rangers, providing security whistles to visitors and by escorting visitor and school educational groups.
New safety signs are being installed along the entire valley, with emergency numbers and location information. We are proud to inform the public that our rangers, who are sponsored by Coca-Cola, have been effective in reducing crime in the Baakens including arresting the rapist who was luring victims two years ago into the valley, and a recent housebreaker who fled into the valley. They also recently rescued an elderly man who had broken his leg.
The improved security situation has encouraged the public to take back and utilise the gem that is the Baakens Valley, with visitor numbers climbing from about 2000 in 2007 to a projected 20000 this year. We have had 27 school field studies this year and are now having many large public events again, like the PE2Plett MTBike race and Urban Run. We suggest visitors to the Baakens walk in groups, carry emergency numbers and pepper spray, and join in the many organised events, walks and rides advertised on our facebook page: Baakens Valley Community Partnership.
Our rangers are also available to guide school and visitor groups. Contact December Goduka, Settlers Park, (041) 374-2775 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Morgan Griffiths, WESSA, For Baakens Valley Community Partnership