The West

Drug litter and filth show city s sordid side

It was shockingly easy to verify the claims of the City of Perth's besieged carpark staff about violence and a begging racket.

A Thursday afternoon stroll through major inner-city carparks revealed how bad the situation has become.

Used syringes, human faeces and aggressive vagrants - the city's seedy underbelly was in plain sight and not hiding.


Near Perth train station, a syringe lay next to a range of cardboard begging signs at the bottom of a stairwell.

At the top of the stairs Peta, a middle-aged woman from Mt Lawley, spoke in hushed tones to the City of Perth cashier.

Peta returned to the Citiplace carpark where a young beggar was splitting her time between the ticket machines and ATMs.

Once the beggar collected her quota of cash, she would hand it to one of two male associates.

When asked why she was begging for money, the woman replied: "Why the f… do you care? I'd keep on walking if I was you."

Their routine continued throughout the afternoon.

Peta said she was asked for cash every time she visited the city in the past month.

"If they don't get anything they usually just move on to the next person, but I've been harassed here before and they had to get a security guard," she said.

"It was a guy that time … so you start to feel pretty intimidated.

"I feel very uncomfortable standing there in that walkway where no one else can see."

If the cashier needs help dealing with antisocial behaviour, as he did on Thursday, he calls a contracted guard from MSS Security.

The guards deal with everything from faulty boom gates to vagrants taking drugs on the roof of the Citiplace medical centre.

One guard said he believed violence was inevitable.

"The cashier asks the beggar to leave and she yells out, 'Oh, f… off', so then I have to come and move them on," the guard said. "She's gone now but she'll be back in 15 or 20 minutes.

"It's the same story at the State Library carpark, Roe Street and Pier Street.

"People are worried they'll be attacked, especially older people who are more vulnerable."

The Pier Street carpark stairwells reeked of urine and there was faeces on the floor overlooking a first-level loft which was littered with a syringe, a used condom, two bongs and bottles.

"It's all a bit rough," the MSS guard said. "It must make the cleaners' jobs hard because who wants to be touching that stuff?"

On a second visit to the Citiplace carpark, the syringes were still there, there were new begging signs and the same three people were targeting women.

The West Australian

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