Keith Sharpe, George:
I was quite shocked at the headline in last week's Herald, claiming "Mountain trails a mugger's paradise!"
We often taken the dogs for walks on the mountain trails north of the gardens. My daughter has been walking / running / cycling the trails 4 out of 7 days a week, mostly with our dogs. Just a week ago she returned telling me how safe she feels on the trails and that she mainly sees like-minded hikers, and on the odd occasion, a non threatening "homeless person".
At times we have seen "suspicious" characters, but none of us have been accosted. We do appreciate that others have not been that fortunate; and those incidents are to be condemned.
However, I think that the wrong impression is created with such a headline. Granted the incidents are concerning and deplorable, but definitely not a "mugger's paradise". Such a headline serves to feed peoples' fears; as well as create a huge misperception in other areas of the country; as well as internationally.
Recently I was asked by a niece living in London to give a report on the way of living in the Garden Route. She has recently divorced her husband, and wanted to bring her child to live with her in Sedgefield. Her ex's lawyer used the crime stats for South Africa, and particularly Cape Town, to make South Africa look like you cannot walk down a street for fear of being murdered. (They disregarded the more favourable crime stats of the Garden Route). The Headline in the George Herald of 11/6/2020 will serve lawyers like these well. (Letter shortened)
Group Editor, Ilse Schoonraad responds:
Dear Mr Sharpe, point taken. We apologise for the error in judgement. Please see my response to Mr van Eck's letter which voices concerns similar to yours.