NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With crime up 26 percent in Central Park this year the Guardian Angels have resumed crime patrols for the first time in 20 years.
The park is a whole lot safer than it was two decades ago, but still the increase in robberies and other crimes this year has Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa calling it a “mugger’s delight” and he wants Mayor Bill de Blasio to do something about it, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.
“The mayor, he’s impervious to it. He’s oblivious,” Sliwa said.
Sliwa, who is also a conservative radio talk show host, laid the increase in crime in Central Park squarely on the mayor’s doorstep.
“It’s no question that the cops no longer rule the park at night, and if they don’t rule the park at night they may not rule the city at night and that means the thugs, thug life will rule,” Sliwa said.
The Guardian Angels are now back patrolling Central Park for the first time in two decades. Many park-goers said they were happy to see them. Some even posed for pictures with them.
Their patrols are mostly at night, but when CBS2 cameras followed them Monday — and it was daylight – there were still some scary moments.
One such example was homeless man with his pants seen cinched below his underwear, running around and screaming. He was drinking openly from a liquor bottle. City laws make it illegal to drink alcohol in public spaces like parks and streets, Kramer reported.
“That gentleman that you have on video, imagine if he would be in the rambles or a secluded area,” Guardian Angel Ben Garcia said. “Out of nowhere he pops up and starts screaming. Someone could get a heart attack and God forbid he decides to rob that person.”
Surveillance video obtained by CBS2 shows a mugging in the park in May. NYPD crime stats through Aug. 9 show:
* A 100 percent increase in robberies so far this year — From 11 in 2014 to 22 in 2015
* Grand larceny is up nearly 14 percent, from 29 in 2014 to 35 this year
Since 1994, overall crime including rape, robbery and felony assault is down 80 percent. During this same time, the number of visitors has climbed to 40 million a year. The likelihood of being a victim of crime in Central Park is roughly 1 in 350,000 visits or so.
The Guardian Angels want to take Mayor de Blasio on a tour of Central Park to show him what they see every night.
“He acts like, ‘oh, but it doesn’t indicate it in the stats.’ He needs to leave Gracie Mansion and City Hall and stop worrying about the future of the world and start worrying about the here and now of our city,” Sliwa said.
De Blasio was on a trip to Rhode Island, but his spokeswoman insisted there’s little chance of being a victim of a crime in the park. She put it at 1 in 350,000, Kramer reported.