On the heels of Howard Beach resident Karina Vetrano’s tragic and brutal murder last month, a local state Assembly candidate has called on the National Park Service (NPS) to improve security measures in and around the park where Vetrano was murdered so that similar tragedies don’t occur in the future.
In a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, local Democratic District leader and candidate for the state Assembly’s 23rd District Stacey Pheffer Amato urged that the NPS install permanent security cameras and blue light emergency call boxes across Gateway National Recreational Area, the 26,000-acre NPS stretching across coastal New York and New Jersey.
Pheffer Amato went on to echo the voices of local residents, specifying that the safety infrastructure in the Jamaica Bay unit of the park was “inadequate” due to its location, high volume of visitors and seclusion from the rest of the area.
“This area has long been an area of concern to local families, as its relative isolation, limited visibility due to overgrown grass and lack of safety infrastructure make it potentially dangerous for unaccompanied parkgoers,” Pheffer Amato wrote in her letter.
The candidate also praised Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for allocating resources to place cameras along the edge of Spring Creek Park, where Vetrano was found raped and murdered on the night of Aug. 2. However, she points out that these cameras are most effective when used in tandem with safety measures inside the park.