New York City Parks Are Hot Spots for Rapists. Bill de Blasio Credits NYPD "Blind Spots"
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says NYPD "blind spots" are partially to blame for a recent spike in sexual assaults in city parks. To fix the problem, de Blasio says the cops need to start tallying park-crime data.
De Blasio's suggestion comes just days after a 31-year-old woman was nearly raped by a homeless man after she fell asleep on a bench in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. She managed to get away from her attacker and call police.
"This fifth alleged sexual assault has us all questioning whether we have the right resources and the right strategy to prevent these crimes in our parks. Ending this latest wave of attacks begins with getting real data on crime in our parks system--information we still don't have on most parks, Tompkins Square Park included," de Blasio says. "The NYPD and Parks Department need to fix these blind spots immediately as a first step to preventing another attack."
Friday's near-rape in Tompkins Square Park is just the latest in a series of high-profile cases of park crime.
On September 22, police say Jonathan Stewart beat and choked a 21-year-old woman before dragging her into some bushes at Hudson River Park and raping her.
A week before that, David Mitchell allegedly beat and raped a 73-year-old bird-watcher in Central Park.
In addition to tallying the crime data, de Blasio wants a city crime-in-parks reporting bill -- introduced recently at the City Council by Councilman Peter Vallone -- to be implemented sooner rather than later.
Vallone's bill also is in response to the recent spike in park crime, and would require the NYPD to report crimes in any park larger than one acre.
City pols also are urging Mayor Mike Bloomberg to ditch his plans to cut the NYPD's budget. They say the money getting cut could be used to station officers near city parks.
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