Bangor Police react to recent incidents at neighborhood park

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Is it safe to go to Second Street Park in Bangor?

It's a question that's been asked a lot after a string of fights and disturbances in recent weeks.

Breanna Sawyer-Maclaughlin, said, "My brother was just jumped in that park actually where it landed him in the hospital for about three weeks."

Breanna Sawyer-Maclaughlin says the safety of Second Street Park has always been a problem. She said, "It's been a major issue for a long time."

Earlier this month, she said her younger brother was the victim of a random attack. Breanna Sawyer-Maclaughlin explained, "He was just kind of in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Police believe another recent fight that put a man in the hospital was not random. Sgt. Wade Betters said, "Over the past month or so, we have had a little rise in calls for fights."

In response to that, the Bangor Police Department has made an increase in enforcement efforts.

"Overall, the number of assaults have been consistent. We investigate a lot of fights that people aren't aware of, and when you talk about social media and live stream things and post, it can give the appearance that's there a lot more than we do," explained Sgt. Betters.

'We came out here to Second Street Park to talk to residents and people who come here often and on a daily basis."

Matt Gonnerman said, "I've never seen anything dangerous. There are sometimes people loitering. It's not really loitering because it's a public park, so if it's groups hanging out and I think that can be concerning to people."

"It's a lot better than about three years ago, and it still needs some improvements. There's a lot of people doing drugs in the park. You go up in here and you see dirty nasty blankets and people have tented there, and that needs to be cleaned up."

Breanna Sawyer-Maclaughlin, said, "I usually call my sister when I'm on my way home on the way back."

Police and Bangor Parks and Recreation officials say they've been working to make the park safer and cleaner with the paved path and the addition of lights.

Everyone we spoke with said they believe police are present in the area and respond well to incidents.

Sgt. Betters, said, "We simply will not let this area succumb to being known as an unsafe park."

Betters talked about rumors of them not responding to calls and issues in the city. He added, "It's been a hard pill for some people to swallow, but people could give us the benefit of the doubt before they post that we're intentionally not responding to anything."

Betters says if anyone has any information on the recent attack or any other issues, they should reach out to police.