Boston’s Central Park will not be locked at night, say councillors

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Boston’s Central Park gates will remain open at night despite public concerns over crime and anti-social behaviour after councillors heard there was a lack of evidence and a potential increase in costs.

Councillors on Boston Town Area Committee will instead look to review the provision of CCTV, a spokesman for the authority has confirmed.

This is despite an increase in social media reports of anti-social behaviour such as drinking and people going to the toilet behind trees and hedges in the area.

A report before councillors detailed how the park was opened up 24-hours-a-day in May 2016, with a review the following July concluding there had been “no negative impacts or evidence of increased crime or anti-social behaviour”.

In October, members were told that 100 incidents had been reported in the park during 2016 compared to 69 incidents in 2017. A total of 85 incidents were reported for the period January to October last year

The report before councillors said: “If in the future a decision was taken to lock the park each evening, this would require additional budget as savings from the current arrangements are already secured. The cost of providing this service could be provided for consideration by BTAC Members, however the crime and anti-social behaviour evidence does not support this.”

However, a £10,200 fund for CCTV cameras at Sheldon’s Field and Woodville Road play areas had not been spent, councillors were told. It was suggested this could be “reallocated to upgrade CCTV equipment in Central Park”.

In November, 30 birds were found missing and others killed after the park’s aviary was broken into. A petition also started around that time on change.org calling or the gates to be locked has had almost 1,000 signatures, but a senior councillor said locking the park gates would not have deterred the vandals from carrying out criminal acts.