NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is warning people on Staten Island to not walk alone after several visitors at a popular park were being targeted and robbed.
Some were beaten while walking or jogging early in the morning.
CBS2’s Emily Smith reported that Staten Islanders are seeing NYPD officers inside Clove Lakes Park, rather than patrolling around the perimeter. A police source said it’s all due to the series of muggings over the last week. Investigators said teenagers seem to be the suspects.
The most recent robbery took place Monday night as cops said a female jobber became the third mugging victim in a week. A prior incident involved a group of teens running with their track team. CBS2 learned five men attacked them and demanded cellphones and cash. The suspects left without anything, but the victims were beaten.
“Predominantly the area is very safe. It’s really nice here. It’s shocking to hear what happened,” Lourdes Derenzi said.
This week the NYPD used social media to warn people on the North Shore to be extra vigilant.
Councilman Joe Borelli, R-51st, said he’s been asking for extra police presence in parks for years.
“The reality is Staten Island has an extreme amount of park land and there just isn’t always an ability to patrol all of it,” Borelli said. “Much of it is hiking and biking trails that might not be visible from the street.”
Despite the warnings, the NYPD said robberies are down more than 28 percent for the year in the 121st Precinct.
Police have not yet released a detailed description of the suspects.