Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly trekked to Brooklyn to celebrate National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday, and found the perfect place — crime riddled Fort Greene Park.
Bloomberg was all smiles as he addressed residents flocking to the annual “take back the night” party at the corner of Washington Park and Myrtle Avenue, but said nothing about the spate of robberies that has turned the idyllic greenspace into a crime den.
Police were logging up to two robberies a week in the park in late May and early June, prompting Deputy Inspector Anthony Tasso, the 88th Precinct’s commanding officer, to add more patrols to protect parkgoers.
Yet the robberies continued: cops arrested two thieves who robbed a woman at gunpoint inside the park on July 3. Two days later a group of punks mugged a 16-year-old of her iPhone in the park’s confines.
No robberies have been reported in the park this month, but people have gotten so worried about crime conditions that one woman took it upon herself to hold self-defense classes there.
The mayor didn’t take questions from reporters on Tuesday as he greeted Delia Hunley-Adossa, the president of the 88th Precinct Community Council, Borough President Markowitz, DA Charles Hynes, Comptroller John Liu and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey, all of whom stopped by to address the crowd.
Yet Bloomberg’s staff seemed clued into the park’s crime conditions: two members of his security detail were seen trailing the mayor — watching him, and those around him, like a hawk.
Tasso said that escalating crime trends had nothing to do with Bloomberg’s visit.
“Right now, crime is down in the 88th Precinct by six percent, so it had nothing to do with any crime spike,” Tasso said, adding that the 88th Precinct’s National Night Out celebration has always been held in the park. “[Bloomberg’s visit] was done on a rotating basis, we just happened to be the recipient this year.”
Yet Tasso did admit that robberies in Fort Greene Park remain a problem.
“Traditionally, the park has become a hunting ground for people looking for iPods and iPhones. It’s always a cause for concern,” Tasso said. “When we catch perpetrators and ask them why they target people in the park and they tell us that that’s where the people who have the stuff they want are.”
Willie Sutton lives.