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Crime in the Parks

Crime in Parks

Crime is the single greatest factor that can negatively impact the public's enjoyment and use of its public parks and access to recreational programs. At more than 52,000 acres including City, State, and Federal, New York City boasts the largest urban park system in the world. The responsibly of securing this vast park system falls primarily on a handful of uniformed dedicated park police personnel. These include the city's Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP - approx. 29,000 acres): U.S. Park Police (approx. 25, 000 acres): and NY State Park Police (Approx. 600 acres)

First and foremost the public including its elected officials have a right to know if their parks are safe, what, if any crime patterns exist and how to allocate the proper resources to address them.

It may come as a surprise for some people that the City of New York does not monitor or keep statistics for crimes committed on the more than 29, 000 acres of Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) land and facilities including its 1700 parks and playgrounds and four thousand properties. Encompassing 14% of the city's land, the DPR is the city's largest landowner.

Every single one of the City's 1700 parks and playgrounds are located within a NYPD Police Precinct yet the NYPD is currently tracking crime statistics for just 31 parks. And only one park, Central, is through the NYPD.

In 2005 the City Council passed a law. to address a fraction of this reporting deficiency. Local Law 114 2005 requires the NYC Police Department to submit to the City Council quarterly reports of the seven major felony crime complaints in parks and playgrounds one acre in size or greater.

Beginning in 2006 the city was required to track crime in 20 parks and by 2008 compile and release data for all parks and playgrounds one acre in size or greater in size which they are not doing. In 2012 the NYPD was still tracking crime in only 31 parks. We estimate the city is reporting less than 5% of existing park crime in its quarterly reports to the City Council.

New York City Park Advocates provides the only publicly accessible reporting of park crime incidents available in NYC exclusively through its news site, A Walk In The Walk. This is supplemented by statistics supplied by the NYPD (below)

A Walk In The Park is responsible for regularly breaking and contributing to many of the city's park and environmental news stories through original reporting, in-depth research and analysis. We work regularly with the city’s top media outlets, as well as with numerous journalism and public policy programs in universities. We are known for our accurate and reliable reporting, research and extensive sources.

Please see the NYPD Park Crime Data reports for 31 parks through the 1st quarter 2013.

Central Park 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Murder 0 0 0 0 0
Rape 0 7 2 2 0
Robbery 20 23 18 14 2
Felony Assault 6 6 8 7 0
Burglary 3 2 1 2 0
Grand Larceny 40 63 67 76 2
G.L.A. (Auto) 1 9 0 0 0
Grand Total 70 110 96 101 4
Narcotics Arrests 34 71 N/A N/A N/A

Source: Compiled by NYC Park Advocates via NYPD Comstat & DCPI