Here in the largest city in the country, crimes are only reported in 31 parks. Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. wants to fix that problem.
Vallone, chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, held a hearing on November 22 in connection with his proposed law that would require the NYPD to submit to the Council crime reports for all city parks and playgrounds larger than once acre.
The councilmember said the amendment will close a “loophole” from a bill he passed in 2006.
That legislation originally required the crime reporting of 20 parks, but was supposed to be extended to hundreds more over three years. But, according to Vallone, the NYPD didn’t need to make those increases if the technology wasn’t available to do it.
“We can no longer allow the NYPD to hide behind a claimed lack of technology to avoid providing the public with this vital information. This bill will improve upon my original bill and increase the amount of parks covered from 31 to over 870, and publish this information on the web,” said Vallone.
Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, doesn’t believe Vallone’s legislation goes far enough in “closing the loopholes” because it doesn’t cover the majority of the city’s recreation and green spaces.
According to the Parks department, there are more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreation facilities in the five boroughs.
“If passed this law would continue to endanger the lives of the public, the police and PEP [Parks Enforcement Patrol] officers by not requiring the city track crimes on all park properties,” said Croft.
Vallone said he is also “looking for ways to include playgrounds and other areas smaller than an acre, but larger than a patch of grass.”