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Inwood Residents Take to Twitter to Restart Safety Patrols Amid Rising Crime

By Carla Zanoni | November 12, 2010 1:09pm | Updated on November 13, 2010 11:03am
Police patrol Inwood Hill Park.
Police patrol Inwood Hill Park.
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DNAinfo/Carla Zanoni

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

INWOOD — A group of residents who use Twitter to organize safety patrols in the neighborhood are looking for new volunteers to hit Inwood streets after a mother was mugged with her her 17-month-old child.

Crime has been on the rise in Inwood in recent weeks, but the mugging in Inwood Hill Park pushed the Inwood Safety Patrol to make definite plans to patrol again.

"Hey Inwood..I would like to start the #InwoodSafetyPatrol again," tweeted the patrol’s founder, Inwood resident Angel Figueroa on Thursday "This can only succeed with your help & volunteerism.”

Murder, rape, felony assaults, grand larceny and auto theft were all on the rise in the 34th Precinct in October, according to the Oct. 25 to 31 CompStat crime statistic report.

As compared to the same period last year, rape was up 400 percent, from one to five; murder was up 100 percent, from one to two; felony assaults were up about 87 percent from 15 to 28; robberies were up 125 percent from 16 to 36; and auto theft was up 100 percent from six to 12.

At the end of October, the 34th Precinct received an additional 60 temporary police officers to quell the crime, but many people in Inwood say the additional support seems to be concentrated in Washington Heights.

During the October 34th Precinct Community Council meeting, the precinct's Commanding Officer Jose Navarro said police would first flood areas of Washington Heights that had flared over the previous month.

Inwood Safety Patrol was formed earlier this year during a similar crime uptick, but unofficially disbanded during the spring after dwindling participation.

This time around, Figueroa, 42, said he plans to reach out to the 34th Precinct and the Guardian Angels, who began patrolling Inwood Hill Park in September after a woman was sexually assaulted there, for support.

"We can’t do this alone,” he said. "The last incarnation of ISP was made possible by a few faithful neighbors. We need more people to help."

Jim Swimm, 39, is one of many Inwood residents who plan to join the patrols once they start up.

Swimm said he has recently seen a growing "thug contingency" when walking in the park, which he defined as a group that "uses intimidation to take advantage of community."

He said that the recent neighborhood crime he had read about motivated him to join the patrol.

"I read the report on the lady w/ baby in stroller @ IHP [Inwood Hill Park] and got REALLY pissed off," he wrote in a direct message on Twitter.