Prospect Park can be a great place to have fun with the family, exercise or even bring a date. But with the sun going down earlier and earlier, you always want to be aware of your surroundings.
According to the Commanding Officer of the 78th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, whose men cover most of the park, there has been an increase in robberies within its 585 acres.
Deputy Inspector Ameri said that there have been 17 robberies between Jan. 1 and Nov. 23 this year, compared to only seven during the same span of time in 2011.
“We are experiencing a little spike in robberies in the park,” Ameri said during an interview on Tuesday. “But our enforcement numbers and overall quality of life have increased in the park with more and more arrests.”
This year, Ameri explained, the number of arrests his men have made in the park increased 10 percent as compared to last year’s collars.
As the New York Post reported about the increase in crime earlier, the majority of the robberies are iPhone-related.
Most of the robberies do not involve weapons, but rather are “strong arm robberies,” Ameri said, explaining that the crooks only use physical force to mug their victims of their valuables.
One of the most recent arrests occurred on Friday, Nov. 23. According to the 78th Precinct’s police report, three young men approached a woman near the park’s dog beach at around 4 p.m. and stole her iPhone.
Before they were able to snatch it and run away, the woman put up a fight as the three teenagers struggled to rip it out of her hands. Eventually, she let go of her cell and they ran away.
Later that same night, some of Ameri’s officers arrested the men in the confines of the 70th Precinct while they were trying to sell the woman’s iPhone.
Ameri said he will continue to fight the increase in crime with more force.
“As a result of this recent spike, I am putting more of my officers in the park,” Ameri said. “Have some patience and be careful. I am working as hard as I can.”