By Gina Martinez
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) and Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) were joined by parents at Northern Playground in Jackson Heights last Thursday, asking residents to take advantage of an app that helps safeguard playgrounds.
Peralta and Kim asked parents to download a free smart phone app called the ParentPatrol, designed to increase the safety of city parks and playgrounds, especially when children are playing in the local public spaces. The free app allows users to report and record any suspicious activity. Peralta and Kim both discussed the advantages of using the app.
Peralta said the app could be the difference between having a wonderful time at the park or experiencing a nightmare.
“Technology is here to stay, and it is vital that we use it as much as we can to ensure the safety of our children,” he said. “This free resource will permit users to report any inappropriate behavior or potentially dangerous instances to the local authorities. Clearly, this smart phone application enhances safety in the parks and playgrounds for everyone, not just for children.”
According to the elected officials, ParentPatrol empowers New Yorkers to take active steps to safeguard parks. Users can report suspicious activity or inappropriate incidents to local community leaders and nearby residents. Once users open the app, they can record video of suspicious activity, make reports of incidents they have seen, and even call a hotline to speak to someone about the inappropriate behavior they’ve witnessed. Users can also include important details like the GPS-tracked location where it occurred, and any reports received will be used to notify crucial local entities like the districts’ elected officials, community boards, Parks Department and local police precincts.
Kim encourages anyone who visits parks to download the app.
“As an elected official and a father, I was alarmed by the recent rise in inappropriate activities and violent incidents in our city’s public parks,” he said. “I am proud to announce that we’ve now hit a new milestone, with nearly 2,200 downloads of the app and over 200 incident reports logged. The constructive feedback we’ve received convinces me that ParentPatrol is ready for even greater implementation across our city.”
The app also features an interactive map where incidents can be reported and then seen by other users. A recent update to the app enables users to send or receive notification or alerts of recent incidents nearby.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart