By Carla Zanoni
UPPER MANHATTAN — Following a string of sexual attacks in Washingtin Heights and Inwood, residents have seen an increased number of police officers in squad cars, on horseback and on foot.
And soon residents will see them on Segways, Capt. Jose Navarro of the 34th Precinct said.
Navarro said the odd-looking tall scooters would help police patrol areas that are otherwise difficult to navigate with other vehicles.
"We have police being trained on how to use them in certain areas of the park, where we didn't have access before," he said during the precinct's community council meeting on Wednesday.
Navarro said the scooters should be out over the weekend.
Additional police presence in the neighborhood started after three women were sexually assaulted in rapid succession beginning on June 10 through June 12.
Residents and elected officials have called for permanent additional law enforcment in the area, asking specifically for more beat cops.
Women in the area said they are on high alert as the suspects remain at large.
Navarro said he would love to see beat cops return to the streets of the city, but said it was unlikely considering the financial strain of the department.
The NYPD started using Segways in 2007 in public parks and beaches like Coney Island and Central Park after a failed attempt to introduce the scooters in 2003, according to the New York Times.
Most recently, transit cops began using the awkward looking devices in major subways including Times Square and Columbus Circle.
Officers stand on the hulking scooters approximately eight-inches off the ground and move at a maximum of 12.5 miles per hour.
Navarro said he was hopeful that the added presence of officers on the motorized devices might help deter crime, but laughed when asked if he had been trained on them as well.
"You're never going to see me on one of those," he said.