Queens Officials Look at Park Safety

It was originally reported that a young woman riding her bicycle in the Park on Easter Sunday was knocked down and raped while two other suspects looked on. However late on April 14 and following "extensive interview of the complainant and people at the scene it was determined that there had been no criminal activity," said Deputy Inspector Robert Cividanes of the Queens Detectives Unit.
But there was no retracting the Forest Park "sex attack" this past Easter weekend.
According to a spokesperson at Police Headquarters, at 12:15 p.m. on April 11 in Dry Harbor Park (81 St. and Myrtle Ave.) a 7-year-old girl was sexually abused by 38-year-old white man. The victim was accompanied by an adult and was playing in the area of the playground when she was molested. The adult held the suspect for authorities.
Forest Park is comprised of 538 acres, including seven playgrounds, a sheltered band shell, tennis courts nature trails and five ball fields. The park is patrolled by the 102 and the 104 precincts.
Parks and Recreation spokesperson Corey Salsberg said, "We have between four and six Park Enforcement Patrol agents stationed at Forest Park. Their patrol times generally coincide with most frequent park usage…10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ve also deployed extra forces to deal with specialized concerns in certain areas and have done several night sweeps. We meet with the precincts and the Forest Park Administrators to address matters of safety on a regular basis."
As for safety precautions in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Borough President Claire Shulman called for a new police precinct in the park itself following the initial report of the rape.
"Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is much bigger than Central Park and it does not have its own precinct," Shulman noted. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is comprised of 1,255 acres while Central Park has 843 acres.
Currently Flushing Meadows is patrolled by the 110 Precinct on foot, bike and with patrol cars. The Precinct also covers parts of Corona and Elmhurst, and basically anything south of Roosevelt Ave.
Borough President Shulman has long requested an increase in police patrols for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park which is home to Shea Stadium, U.S.T.A. Center, the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art, the Queens Theatre in the Park, the Queens Zoo and the Playground for All Children. Her office purchased six bikes for the 110 back in 1996 for specific use in the park.
Queens Assistant Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper’s Office has also purchased bikes for use in park patrol. She said, "Besides NYPD patrolling in various units, we have Park Enforcement Officers and Urban Park Rangers who are all trained to respond to emergency situations.
"We have a safe park here in Queens." Cooper said, "People should continue to enjoy the park, but people must remain aware wherever they are. By all means come and play and enjoy the park."

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