JACKSON HEIGHTS —Neighborhood parks "taken over" by local gangs will be reclaimed with increased police presence, the 115th Precinct commander said this week.
Feuding gangs in Jackson Heights and Corona, mostly the Trinitarios, Latin Kings and ABK, have "claimed" parks around the neighborhoods, including Travers and Gorman parks, according to Inspector Michele Irizarry from the 115th Precinct.
"As much as they should be used exclusively for the benefits of people with families, people with children, we know there are some, let's say unsavory, characters that use the parks," she said at this month's community meeting.
"We are taking back those parks."
The enforcement comes months after an 18-year-old man was stabbed in the back at Travers Park, on 78th Street and 34th Avenue, after telling his attackers he wasn't in a gang.
Other parks, including Northern Playground across the street from the precinct, are also used by warring gangs as makeshift headquarters, Irizzary said.
Uniformed police officers began patrolling the parks a few weeks ago to help "clear up people who don't belong there."
"Those parks should be for small kids, families," the precinct commander said.
The initiative, which is being done in neighborhoods throughout the city, will continue through 2017, she said.
A spokeswoman for the Parks Department said the agency "supports the NYPD’s efforts to keep our city safe" but said the NYPD was spearheading the program for now.