Stop crime before renaming

Sherwood Court is above the Sherwood Shopping Centre.

Naming a Bergvliet lane after a prominent civic leader shouldn’t happen before the crime plaguing it is stopped.

So say tenants of nearby Sherwood Court. They claim more than 20 of their cars have been broken into over the years because of crime in the lane.

Sherwood Court is a block of nine flats above Sherwood Shopping Centre. The flats are let by owner Barry Brooks.

The Bulletin reported last week that the street behind the shopping centre is going to be named Craythorne Lane, in
memory of Dr Donald Craythone’s service to his community (“New name for Berg-
vliet ‘link’, Bulletin, July 4), but
the Sherwood tenants – who park their cars there – say the priority should be making the street

The tenants say their cars have been broken into several times over the years.

Mr Brooks said he had had to install 18 cameras, put in a panic button, an alarm system and hire two different armed-response companies to patrol the lane, which he said attracted a lot of crime in the early hours of the morning because it was more of an alley than an actual street. And there were more car break-ins when the street lights didn’t work.

Colleen Fisher, who works at a small call centre in Sherwood Court, said her car had been broken into in 2016 around

Mr Brooks said another resident had seen a car being pushed onto a low-bed truck while he was having a smoke on the balcony at around 1am. He thought someone’s car had problems and was being towed away, he did not realise it was being stolen.

Mr Brooks said his security cameras had also caught thieves stealing brass handles from shops at the complex. And tool supplies had been stolen from the shopping centre garage.

“The problem with the street is that it is a security hazard because it is an alley. I don’t think that changing the name is enough,” Mr Brooks said.

Ten years ago, he had applied to the City to buy the “alley” to fence it off as a secure parking lot for his tenants but surrounding residents had objected to the plan.

Mr Brooks said that 15 years ago he had found a dead homeless man in the street. And on another occasion a tenant had found a squatter sleeping in the building’s refuse area.

“’This man had a bed in there. He had made his bed so beautifully, with pink cushions on it. He was sleeping there, there was not even a roof. Reporting it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. He begged me to stay. He said he had nowhere else to go. They took him to a shelter.”

Mr Brooks said if he were permitted to buy and close off the street, he would consider holding a “Craythorne craft
market” there on Saturdays.

Reverand Brian Koela, who lives at Sherwood, said there was growing unhappiness about crime in the area. A nearby spaza shop, he said, had been robbed more than 10 times. “I think Mr Craythorne would be angry to know that all they’re going to do is change the name of the
street. I’m sure safety was a major thing for him. I’m sure he wanted the people of his community to feel safe. Naming the street can’t be the end of it,” he said.

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