NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some New Yorkers have complained that a plan for safer streets may be taking safety resources away from city parks.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, Upper Manhattanites are demanding more security in their green spaces.
There has been a disturbing pattern of robberies lately in and around parks north of 125th Street, neighbors said.
“I’m actually surprised; I was not aware of it,” said Cynthia Caggiano.
“I wouldn’t come here at night,” added Janet Weinstein of Westchester County.
Weinstein and her daughter were enjoying the day in Fort Tryon Park on Monday, unaware of a recent string of crimes there – and in nearby Inwood Hill and Isham parks.
“Hundreds and hundreds of people have been mugged in parks in the last year, and that’s just unacceptable,” said New York City Park Advocates President Geoffrey Croft.
There have been 391 crimes in parks citywide from July 1 to Sept. 1.
Croft pointed to a few recent incidents in late October, involving a group of young males who robbed victims walking alone in the parks – taking cash, wallets and cellphones. Suspects have since been arrested in that case.
In another recent incident, a mother was robbed at knifepoint as she was breastfeeding her baby in Fort Tryon Park.
“I heard that there have been some robberies here in Isham Park,” said resident Nancy Ricci.
After hearing about the recent attacks, residents here along 214th Street along Isham Park said there not only need to be police officers outside the park, but also boots on the ground in the park.
“There’s only a few officers to patrol – I mean, we’re talking hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of acres. That’s not enough resources,” Croft said.
Fort Tryon Park includes 67 acres near the northern tip of Manhattan. It includes the Cloisters.
Inwood Hill Park comprises 196 acres and Isham Park 20 acres.
In a statement, the Department of Parks and Recreation said it “continues to maintain strong lines of communication with precincts to address trouble spots.”
NYPD officers who had been dedicated to the parks were reassigned under the neighborhood policing program – a pilot program to get officers more involved in the community.