QUEENS — Security cameras will soon be installed in seven key locations throughout Forest Park, following a string of sex assaults and car break-ins in and around the park, Assemblyman Michael Miller said Wednesday.
Miller and state Sen. Joseph Addabbo allocated $250,000 last year for cameras to be placed in the park. The money is currently awaiting final approval from the state and Miller said he anticipates the cameras to be installed in the park by the summer.
Most of the 14 cameras will be placed at the entrances to the 500-acre park, near the playgrounds and main trails used by joggers and bicyclists, Miller said. The cameras will be also installed near locations where car break-ins have occurred.
In the wake of the attacks, the NYPD beefed up patrols in the greenspace and there were calls to reestablish a NYPD mounted unit to serve the park.
The planned locations for the cameras are: the corner of Park Lane South and Woodhaven Boulevard; the intersection of 80th Street and Myrtle Avenue; Woodhaven Boulevard, near the Parks Department Visitor Center; the corner of Forest Parkway and Park Lane South; and the intersection of Freedom Drive and Myrtle Avenue. There will also be cameras near the Buddy Monument at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South and at the Forest Park bandshell, near Forest Park Drive.
Initially, the NYPD told Miller they could not guarantee the funds would be used to place the cameras in Forest Park as opposed to other locations. But in December they agreed to install them in the area.
"The cameras are a good deterrent to crime and when criminals see the cameras they have to go someplace else," Miller said. "And God forbid something should happen the cameras will help identify suspects," he said.
Each location will include two 360-degree, fish-eye cameras that will be installed atop poles, Miller said. They will retain the recordings and stream the images to police.
The NYPD is continuing to search for a man who they say has been linked to six sexual assaults in and around the park in the past two years.
The most recent attack occurred on Aug. 26, 2013 when a 69-year-old woman was attacked with a stun gun and raped, authorities said.
Police said they believe the suspect, who attacked for the first time in March 2011, also assaulted a 13-year-old girl.