Dover City Leaders and Police Discuss Safety at Parks - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover City Leaders and Police Discuss Safety at Parks

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A sign at Silver Lake Park shows the hours for the park. (Photo: WBOC) A sign at Silver Lake Park shows the hours for the park. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - On Aug. 10 an 18-year-old man was shot at Dover Park on Dover's east side. It's a scary incident at a place people want to be able to bring their kids and families.

Now, two weeks later, the city's Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee heard from Police Chief Paul Bernat about how safe Dover's parks are.

There are concerns about two of Dover's largest parks - Silver Lake and Dover.

Joan Stewart spends a lot of time in Silver Lake Park. She's there basically every day.

"We feed the ducks and squirrels," she said. "They know us when we're coming. They've gotten so they watch for us. And we walk the path for exercise."

She's there during the day.

"No, I don't see anybody or anything that is out of the ordinary when we're here," Stewart said.

But Dover City Councilman Dave Anderson said the complaints he has been hearing aren't about daylight hours.

"Where you get the complaints is more around dusk," Anderson said. "And as winter approaches, dusk is going to move up. It's going to start getting into people's time when they're jogging after work."

Anderson said park users have told him they don't feel comfortable at dusk - the parks' closing time - due to issues like people sleeping around the parks then and at night.

Dover police records show the Aug. 10 shooting is among the most serious incident police have responded to in either park in 2013, 2014 or 2015. In fact, for those years there were eight or fewer substantive incidents in either park from January through mid-August.

Police said Dover parks are generally safe. Anderson is not surprised by the numbers.

"But to be honest, these concerns didn't just pop up. There have been concerns in the Dover Park area for a while," Anderson said. "The parks are not unsafe. What we're trying to do is prevent problems.... We're seeing problems arising. We're seeing indications that we could be heading the wrong direction. The time to stop it is now."

Anderson would like to see more lighting, perhaps cameras and maybe increased patrols of the parks at night.

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