The City Council’s Public Safety Committee held a hearing to discuss a bill proposed by councilman and committee chair Peter Vallone, Jr. requiring police to disclose crime data from all parks larger than one acre. But some say this is still not enough.
The proposal from Vallone comes in light of recent crime reports that show a 48 percent increase in park crime since 2009, the highest on record, with a reported 162 incidents for the quarter. There were 149 incidents reported in same quarter last year.
“We can no longer allow the NYPD to hide behind a claimed lack of technology to avoid providing the public with this vital information," Vallone said. "We are looking for ways to include playgrounds and other areas smaller than an acre, but larger than a patch of grass."
Vallones’s bill would increase the required number of parks under police oversight from 31 to over 870, and require them to publish the information online.
"Reporting crimes in all parks over one acre is in everyone's best interest," said Alyson Beha, director of research, planning and policy at New Yorkers for Parks. "It will help New Yorkers better understand the reality of perceived concerns about safety in parks."
Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said the proposal is not enough and noted a bill in Albany sponsored by State Senator Tony Avella that would encompass all parks.
"If passed this law would continue to endanger the lives of the public, the police and PEP officers by not requiring the city track crimes on all park properties, including all parks and playgrounds, recreation centers and pools," Croft said.
Avella’s legislation would require police to report and track crime at all 1700 public parks and playgrounds.
"It is imperative that the city track crime in all parks and playgrounds, not just on properties of one acre or greater,” Avella said. “The city has had enough time to create a system to track and monitor crime, it has just not been a priority."