Crime on rise in city parks

Felony crimes in Central Park rose by almost 50 percent from 2009 to 2010 — from 65 to 98, including robbery, drug and rape arrests, according to the City Council. Numbers are not yet available for 2011.

You might want to think twice before taking a shortcut through Central Park.

Members of the City Council will meet today to discuss the problem of increasing crime in city parks.
Major crimes like grand larceny and assault are on the rise there: A three-month period near the end of 2011 saw the highest number of crimes in three years, according to Council statistics obtained from the police.

The NYPD, which is in charge of parks safety, recorded 134 crimes in the third quarer of 2011. That’s the most crime in one quarter since 2008, according to police records.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said more than 75 percent of robberies were of electronic devices, mostly cell phones, and in parks where grand larcenies were prevalent, more than 80 percent were items stolen while unattended, out in the open or in a car. He added that parks like Flushing Meadows Corona Park have experienced more crime with an increase in usage, especially in sports facilities like the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Aquatic Center. 

But Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates, a citizens’ park watchdog group, said even more crimes occur than those numbers show. The NYPD only supplies the Council with data for 31 major parks, Croft said, so that does not include, for example, crimes in dozens of playgrounds and small parks scattered around the city.

“We estimate that the NYPD is tracking less than five percent of crimes,” Croft said.

Queens Councilman Peter Vallone, who is chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said parks desperately need more officers. At an April Council hearing, park officials testified that just 92 Park Enforcement Patrol officers patrol 29,000 total acres of parkland citywide. In the Bronx, nine officers patrol 7,000 acres. 

More than 850 major felony crimes have occurred in New York’s 31 parks since 2009, according to Council statistics. “The safety of our parks is paramount,” said Manhattan Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, chair of the parks committee. “We must do all we can to ensure everyone can enjoy these spaces without the threat of being assaulted.”

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @alisonatmetro


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

The Word

What we learned from the premiere of 'True…

Does watching someone's marriage implode make for great TV? The show runners at "True Tori" think Tori Spelling's heartbreak is hot stuff indeed.

NBA

Nets settle for 1-1 series tie with Game…

DeMar DeRozan, who was an All-Star this season, hit two huge jumpers back-to-back to give the Raptors an 89-85 lead over the Nets with 2:10 to play.

NHL

Rangers reclaim home ice with Game 3 road…

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period for the second straight game. This time, they held on.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Jason Kidd reacts to Mike Woodson being fired…

Jason Kidd played for Mike Woodson last year and Joe Johnson spent four seasons being the main focus on offense for Woodson in Atlanta.

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.