NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With a rise in crime reported in New York City parks, advocates are demanding more police and more protection.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, park crimes rose in the first six months of this year by 39 percent, from 488 in 2015 to 612 this year.
“Crime is skyrocketing in parks,” said Geoffrey Croft of the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates. “Over the last year, 612 people reported being the victims of violent crimes in New York City parks.”
Croft said crimes such as murder, rape, assualt and robbery are up because, he claims, there are not enough cops.
Central Park has its own police precinct, but none of the other parks do, which may be why Flushing Meadows, Riverside and Prospect Park are among the most dangerous parks in the city.
Despite the crime spike, the NYPD insisted parks are safe.
“Crime in city parks is less than 1% of all reported crime in New York City … ,” an NYPD spokesman said in a statement. “City parks represent 14% of New York City land mass, which makes them one of the safest places in the city and the country.”
Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said: “Crime in parks is inarguably rare.”
Croft called that assertion “completely delusional.”
“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “And it’s also an incredible insult to all the victims of crimes.”
Parkgoers had mixed reactions.
“I live near Riverside Park. I know there have been some horrible things in the last probably 18 months,” one man said.
“Until you’re victimized by it, you’re not really that aware of it,” a woman said.
“It makes me nervous,” another woman said.
“I’m not surprised,” said another man. “I don’t come here at 9 or 10 o’clock at night.”
The mayor’s spokesman said the city is constantly looking for ways to reduce crime.
While park crime is up citywide, it’s actually down in Central Park by about 16 percent — 74 crimes last year, 62 so far this year.