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Crime Spikes in Prospect Park, Led by Uptick in Robberies

By Leslie Albrecht | February 27, 2013 9:29am

PARK SLOPE — Prospect Park saw a significant spike in crime last year led by a surge in robberies, according to newly released figures.

A recently completed tally of 2012 crimes in Prospect Park by the nonprofit New Yorkers for Parks found that crime rose sharply, with 40 total crimes last year, compared to 27 in 2011. The park saw 26 robberies, compared with just eight in 2011.

There hasn't been a rape or murder in the park since 2008, but felony assaults rose in 2012 to five, compared to only two in 2011.

Cops have responded to the troubling trend in force, and patrol cars with flashing lights have become a regular sight in the park, especially at night.

"Last year we had a little bit of an increase in robberies in the park, so going into 2013 we're trying to get a handle on it," said Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, commanding officer of the 78th Precinct.

Police recently installed two temporary NYPD spotlights in the park to light up desolate areas.

A spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance declined to comment on the crime numbers, but noted that the Alliance has posted a bulletin on its website reminding park users that electronic devices are an attractive target for crooks.

"It's an easy crime — take your phone, sell it for 100 bucks, and away they go," Ameri said at a recent 78th Precinct Community Council meeting.

One such robbery happened to a runner in early January, who posted a warning on the Prospect Park Track Club Facebook page: "Hi All. I want to give a heads up to everyone to be VERY careful in the park after dark. [Three] kids (16ish) came into the park around 8 [p.m.] and one of them robbed me of my phone...The fine men in blue told me I was the first robbery victim in the park for 2013."

The runner wrote that he was shaken at first, then "just pi---d." "I run that loop in the evening all the time, been doing it for years with some sort of electronic device usually (long runs are boring without a good podcast!), and I've never had an issue. It's almost like my backyard."