Gangs of 'young people' armed with dangerous weapons are wreaking havoc on residents and families in the Ledeberg district of Ghent, Belgium, according to reports.
So-called 'youth gangs' have been getting "out of hand" while battling each other with bats, stakes, and sharp objects, frequently damaging property in areas normally used for light commerce and relaxation, Het Nieuwsblad reports.
“I no longer dare to go out alone at night,” one female resident said. “As a child we used to play out here, but now we are afraid of being beaten.”
“We don't know how things will continue here. There was always some inconvenience, but it was never as bad as now.”
The central square has reportedly become ground zero for chaos and violence in Ledeberg, according to SCEPTR.
"They arrive in the afternoon and as the evening goes on, the situation worsens," one man said. "They have people on the lookout. When the police arrive, they run away."
Drug and alcohol paraphernalia are often found strewn about or stashed in bushes, and broken glass and other dangerous substances frequently litter common areas and playgrounds, locals say.
“I know who is involved, but they also know me,” one local girl said. “They have knives with them. That's why we don't dare confront them about it.”
Police have reportedly acknowledged the crisis at hand, claiming patrols will be increased in the area.
Locals say they hope authorities will crack down with 'rough' measures on criminals responsible for transforming Ledeberg into a budding nightmare.
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(PHOTO: Jan De Meuleneir / Photo News via Getty Images)Dan Lyman: Follow @CitizenAnalyst