By Gina Martinez
Flushing parks will have extra security following a series of crimes this summer.
City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and the Parks Department announced there will be three new, full-time security guards patrolling Kissena Corridor Park and Kissena Park in Flushing. In July, a man was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting two women in Kissena Corridor Park. Later that month, police were also reportedly searching for bodies in neighboring Kissena Park.
According to NYPD’s crime statistics, Kissena Corridor Park experienced a 700 percent increase in crime during the second quarter of 2017 when compared to the same period last year. Koo said that while crime statistics are known to fluctuate year-over-year, he believes the extra security will add a presence that will discourage criminal activity. The full-time security guards will work directly with police to enforce park rules and keep the parks safe and secure for everyone, he said.
“Our parks and playgrounds are meant to be places of refuge where our community can come together and enjoy rare green spaces in an urban environment,” Koo said. “These security guards will be equipped with walkie-talkies with a direct link to law enforcement in case of an emergency. Safety and security in our parks is a top priority of my office, and we want to let our community know that our community parks are open for business.”
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver supported Koo’s initiative to make the parks safer.
“Kissena Park is one of New York’s greatest cultural and recreational treasures,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important that we make quality of life our priority and Council member Koo’s generous funding will allow us to do just that by adding three full-time Parks Security Service officers.”
Koo funded the security guards through the Park’s Equity Initiative. The guards will begin in September, working five days a week until the park’s closing time. Koo announced that in addition to the new security guards, he has also allocated $14.5 million in funding to upgrade seven parks and playgrounds throughout District 20, including Bland Playground, Bland Houses basketball courts, Maple Playground, Saul Weprin Playground, JHS 189, PS 120, Murray Hill Playground and Queens Botanical Gardens.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart