QUEENS — Joggers and cyclists frequenting Forest Park can now call for emergency help with the press of a button, thanks to several solar-powered call boxes recently installed throughout the green space.
The NYPD has already placed eight such boxes in the park, with nine more slated to be installed there by June 29, the department said.
The 500-acre green space is popular among local families and sports aficionados, but it has seen its share of violence in recent years, including a string of sexual assaults, several robberies, numerous car break-ins and a murder.
Following the series of sexual attacks, the 102nd Precinct assigned permanent patrols to monitor the park, and last summer, 14 cameras were placed in seven locations around the park, after Assemblyman Mike Miller and State Sen. Joseph Addabbo allocated $250,000 for that purpose in 2013.
Councilman Eric Ulrich, whose constituents frequent the green space, allocated $140,000 for the call boxes, hoping that they "will help to keep Forest Park visitors safe,” he said.
Assemblyman Miller also footed a portion of the bill, according to Ulrich's office.
The locations of the new call boxes, which include Metropolitan Avenue and Forest Park Drive as well as Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive, were determined by the NYPD, officials said.
“Forest Park is a beautiful part of our community and should be a place for our families to enjoy without worry,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley who jogs there and whose district includes the park.
Park visitors said the boxes make them feel safer.
“We’ve had an increase in vandalism in the park so it’s good that they are doing it,” said Mk Moore, who started the Friends of Forest Park group and frequents the green space on a daily basis.
He also pointed out that because the park is so big, pinpointing specific locations while talking to 911 dispatchers could be challenging.
“But now if you use this call box, they will know exactly where you are,” Moore said.