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The inept Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers are in the news again. The WSJ is reporting that crime in the city’s parks tripled in 2012. The article points out that there are only 100 PEP for all of the city parks. It is unclear whether that is including the 45 PEP assigned to our small parks in BPC. Either way, for the 45 well-paid PEP in Battery Park to not be patrolling all parks at all times is unacceptable.
There is no excuse for not having PEP officers overseeing the West Thames grass field, the dog runs, and the smaller Rector and Wagner parks at all times. Currently, PEP will respond when called for problems in those parks, but routine PEP presence is only found in the larger Rockefeller Park “Great lawn” and Teardrop park.
From the WSJ:
• The number of robberies in Prospect Park in Brooklyn more than tripled in 2012, to 26 compared with eight in 2011;
• Total felony crimes in Crotona Park in the Bronx rose by 40%, climbing to 28 incidents last year compared with 20 the previous year;
• In Dyker Beach Park in Brooklyn, there were five felony assaults in 2012, compared with one the previous year.
• And on Randall’s Island in the East River, there were 13 incidents of grand larceny in 2012, compared with six the year before.
Over the years, council members have complained about the paucity of so-called Park Enforcement Patrol officers, also known as PEP officers, who are unarmed and work for the parks department. There were fewer than 100 PEP officers in 2011; officials could not confirm the current number.
The parks department oversees 29,000 acres of land, or 14% of the city.
Holly Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, an advocacy group, said she is concerned that the NYPD only tracks crime in the 31 largest parks, instead of all parks of more than one acre in size. Advocates and elected officials have been pushing the department to provide more comprehensive data, but so far that hasn’t happened.
Ms. Leicht said the parks department is not adequately staffed for security and maintenance.