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What's With All the Cops in Prospect Park?

The 78th Precinct has beefed up park patrols in response to increased crime.

If you've cruised through Prospect Park in the evenings lately, you've noticed that the whole place is awash with cops, flashing their lights everywhere from Bartel-Pritchard Square to Ocean Avenue.

Don't worry, they're not looking for any escaped murderers. (Because they already caught him.) The sudden spike in police presence is the NYPD's response to an increase in park crime, particularly thefts of pricey devices like iPhones.

“As a result of this recent spike, I am putting more of my officers in the park,” Michael Ameri, Commanding Officer of the 78th Precinct, told Park Slope Patch in November.

And indeed he has. In December, Ameri reported that his officers increased their park arrests by 10 percent, with three of the collars including suspects involved in iPhone muggings.

But park-goers beware: The increased police presence means pedestrians, cyclists and drivers better make dang sure they're not breaking any laws. This reporter got a summons a few weeks back for riding her bike along West Drive at 2 a.m. Turns out the park is closed from 1 to 5 a.m.—who knew?

Probably me, if I'd taken the time to read Prospect Park's dense list of rules. Acquaint yourself with them before you find yourself in the glare of the 5-0's blinding lights for letting your dog off leash at the Parade Grounds or failing to have a bell on your bike.

Though we highly recommend parsing the laws yourself, we've isolated a few that are likely to trip up the amateur park visitor:

  • Cycling is permitted only on the main park roadway, Center Drive, and Well House Drive. Cycling is not permitted on Park paths.
  • Cyclists must travel in a counter-clockwise direction and obey all traffic signals. (Ed. Note: I've gotten caught for this one, too. Don't even try it.)
  • By law, bicycles must be equipped with front and rear lights when operating before dawn and after dusk.
  • Signal for turns and lane changes. Be cautious when passing others and warn them of your presence.
  • Dogs are never allowed in playgrounds, on bridle paths, on ballfields, or other designated sports areas.
  • There are no off-leash areas at the Parade Ground.
  • Groups larger than 25 must obtain a permit.
Giosu Carr January 26, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Do they really have to keep their emergency lights on at all times though? Every time I look into the park in the evening, it looks like a warzone. I think there might be a little bit of crying wolf here, using emergency lights for non-emergency situations.
Hugh Jassols January 26, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Those lights are there to make the hipsters and yuppie scum feel safe since they are dumb enough to go into a park with all of their expensive toys out in the open and available for the taking. Here are some stats as a result of those lights Robberies were up vs last year Arrests for Robberies were up vs last year Sexual Assaults were also down in the park So were Simple Assault and most Felonies. Seems like those lights are working just fine or are they shining in your $6000/ month apartment?
J.T Galla January 27, 2013 at 04:33 AM
TYPICAL KNEE JERK POLICING BY BLOOMBERG ADMINISTRATION.1ST HE PROMOTES CYCLING ,THEN HE GIVES OUT TICKETS FOR MINOR INFRACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO MORE SERIOUS CRIMINAL ISSUES WHICH THEY WEREN'T ATTENDING TO AND PREVENTING AS THE MAIN PRIORITY. AS FOR MYSELF, I'VE BEEN RIDING IN THE PARK SINCE THE 50'S ; NOW THE MAIN DRIVE DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS IS THE LAST PLACE YOU'RE GONNA FIND ME ENJOYING THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE PARK.
Jessie Johns January 27, 2013 at 06:39 AM
Hugh, try some Dulcolax for your constipation. It might improve your noxious, petulant, bitter disposition.
BRADY January 27, 2013 at 02:52 PM
WOW! Gotta hand it to that NYPD,can't ever do enough for the people ,and when they do, the people want to know why so much
Hugh Jassols January 28, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Jessie Johns is that what you do? You sound like an enema type of person?
Dudley Escobar January 28, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Yes, expensive toys like...phones. Damn those hipsters and yuppies for taking them out of their pockets! They should only use them at home, in their mansions, like the frightened, over-educated snobs they are! Am I right. Hugh? You beautiful, blue collar crusader, you? Down with yuppies! Go back to Manhattan, you scum! *high five*
Dudley Escobar January 28, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Some day you'll learn how to turn off caps lock. Some day.
Stop the Whining January 31, 2013 at 05:30 PM
the lights are a deterrent, effective but obnoxious. at some point the "making a statement" will have run its course - the big question is will winter patrols have any effect this summer - when the "apple picking" mania should reach an all-time high. This kind of action would seem a little early, if they are out of the park by April when Crime Season returns, i'm not sure that is going to deter much.
Hugh Jassols February 01, 2013 at 01:32 PM
HEY DUDLEY! MAYBE THEY SHOULD START LEARNING TO LIVE IN NYC AND NOT IN FANTASY LAND PARK SLOPE USED TO BE FULL OF DRUG DEALERS AND ALL KINDS OF CRIMINALS AND IT STILL IS... STOP MAKING LIFE EASY FOR CRIMINALS AND START LEARNING THAT LIFE IN BROOKLYN IS NOT LIFE IN KANSAS... ITS A LAND OF OPPORTUNITY YOU GIVE THEM THE CHANCE THEY WILL TAKE IT. STOP ACTING LIKE POSSIBLE VICTIMS. HOW DO YOU LIKE MY CAPS??? 'TAINT FUNNY DUDLEY?
Hugh Jassols February 01, 2013 at 01:34 PM
BRADY... so is the behavior of the douche bag liberal. I wanna be safe but why are the cops all over the place and why are they being cops? Gotta love them.
BRADY February 03, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Yes Huge,thats why I was being so overly sarcastic ,It's amazing how many Hugh Jassols ask why are there so many cops around?And when something happens the question is always, Why weren't there more cops around?
Hugh Jassols February 04, 2013 at 05:30 PM
HA! YOU GOT IT!

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