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Officials to Announce New Safety Plan for Uptown Parks

By Carla Zanoni | August 15, 2011 9:16am
Elected officials and community members called for more law enforcement in city parks after a woman was raped in Inwood Hill Park on June 10, 2011.
Elected officials and community members called for more law enforcement in city parks after a woman was raped in Inwood Hill Park on June 10, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Carla Zanoni

UPPER MANHATTAN — Security in northern Manhattan's parks is about to be beefed up,  the Parks Department and NYPD will announce at a community meeting on Monday night.

The meeting comes nearly two months after a high profile rape occurred in Inwood Hill Park,  spurring elected officials to call for a greater law enforcement presence.

It will include Councilmembers Ydanis Rodriguez and Robert Jackson, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, the NYPD, Parks Department, members of local PTAs and community members.

In addition to announcing new initiatives, elected officials said they hope to hear feedback and ideas on how to improve safety from residents.

“The summer might have gotten off to a rough start in our parks, but this meeting is about continuing to turn that around," Rodriguez wrote in an email about the event.

The attack in Inwood Hill Park took place during the same weekend two other women were attacked in Washington Heights.

Elected officials called for increased policing through patrols by both the NYPD and Parks Department.

Residents said they were concerned that the attacks signaled a return to violence against women in the park, with some saying they were still reeling from several unsolved sexual assaults there over the past several years.

Last year, two women were sexually assaulted while exercising in the park and in 2004, Juilliard student and Inwood resident Sarah Fox was raped and murdered while jogging.

Rodriguez said he hoped the anxiety and fear felt by residents would motivate them to come out and voice their opinions and feedback on the new initiatives Monday night.

"My hope is that everyone who uses the parks and cares about preserving the gains in park safety we've seen in recent years will come out to this meeting, and become a part of the effort,” Rodriguez said.

“Making communities strong and safe always starts with the residents themselves, and Monday's event will be a part of that process.”

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 14, 6 p.m. at I.S. 52 Junior High School, 650 Academy Street.