Cops step up patrols in Fort Greene Park

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Police are adding patrols in Fort Greene Park this month after a spate of robberies have turned the idyllic green into a crime den.

Officers will drive through the park to ward off thieves and protect parkgoers until the school year ends, said Deputy Inspector Anthony Tasso, the 88th precinct’s commanding officer.

Thieves struck in and around the park at least six times in the past three weeks, prompting Tasso to assign more police there at the end of May.

“A lot of the muggings involved teenagers, so we think these problems will be alleviated when school gets out,” he said.

The recent incidents varied, with bands of teen thieves plucking women’s purses and phones in broad daylight and attacking a man just outside a park entrance at night.

Tasso said students at Brooklyn Technical HS — at the southwest corner of the park — are potential victims, though police records show that half of the assailants were of school age.

Before the extra patrols, cops arrested two suspects after one of them stole a woman’s phone in the park on May 24 at 2:20 pm.

Two days later, police got another purse-snatcher for robbing a woman around the same time.

But the increase in cop cruising didn’t stop some muggers. A band of young crooks tried to rob a man at DeKalb Avenue and Washington Park on May 31 just after midnight. The victim ran away.

In one incident, a teenager was a victim. On June 2, three men jumped a 15-year-old boy at 8:52 am, a block from the park, and made off with $6.

Fort Greene Park is at a diverse crossroads, bordered by the Ingersoll and Walt Whitman public housing developments, a hospital, and a row of brownstones, with luxury condominiums only blocks away.

Police say that the stark contrast in socioeconomics — paired with thieves using the park as an escape route — sets the scene for mugger’s paradise.

“There’s not just one pattern,” Tasso said. “Because of its location, Fort Greene Park is always an area that’s prone to robberies.”

Some residents greeted the bumped up patrols with mixed feelings.

“It’s alarming that people are being mugged by 13-year-olds,” said Jessica McCarthy, a 25-year-old who has stopped walking through the park at night because of recent attacks. “But I’m not sure if more police would make me feel safer.”

Lada Cohen, 35, said that she runs in the park every week and doesn’t let reports of crime bother her.

“Police certainly help, but at the same time, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if they were in here watching me all the time,” she said.

Neighborhood robberies have increased slightly compared to last year’s levels. There were 88 robberies through June 5, compared to 83 at the same time last year.

Tasso said that he doesn’t plan to keep the extra patrols into next month, but he could extend them if robberies don’t drop after school’s out for summer.

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

al pankin from downtown says:
the police should open a substaion in the projects, they will be closer to their "clients". that would make the area safer for everyone.
June 15, 2011, 5:13 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
get auxiliary cops and even start citizen patrols (like in some nabes) and put up some cameras around the park. this isn't rocket science.
June 15, 2011, 12:34 pm
deadonarrival from clintonhill says:
Bout time!
June 15, 2011, 1:35 pm
rnestor from Fort Greene says:
There "clients" dont necessarily come from the projects. Sometimes those "clients" also reside in those same brownstones.
June 16, 2011, 2:26 pm
Cee-ster says:
It is easy to blame everything on the projects. The people are poor and no one listens to the poorest people.

I've witnessed a many weed smokers and drunks in the park. I don't know where they live, but they didn't look like the project residents at all.
June 17, 2011, 11:35 am
francesco from park slope says:
there should be cops close to the entrance of park and then in a little staion inside, i agree with al pankin.
probably the presence should discourage criminal...
and what about video cameras?
June 17, 2011, 5:41 pm
J from Fortgreene says:
What do "project people "look like, and what makes anyone think b/c you live in " The Projects, youre poor"?
The are many hard working lower/middle class, law
abiding citizens that live in "the projects"-some with "white collar" careers. Rent is based on income/wages in the "projects"
I agree with a previous post.. " Some of those assialants live in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill Red Hook, etc, and theyre NOT necesarily from " The Projects" Thank you
Sept. 14, 2011, 10:50 am

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