After A Crime-Riddled Weekend, Do People Still Want To Go In Central Park?

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A mini-crime wave hit Central Park over about thirty hours late last week, as three muggings were reported within the Manhattan greenery. A woman was punched and had her cell phone taken near 97th Street on Thursday night while a man was mugged at gunpoint near the 59th street entrance Friday morning. Meanwhile, an attempted mugging victim managed to escape from two teens who pointed a gun at him and tried to steal his phone on 110th Street Friday night.

Is anywhere in Central Park safe anymore? WOR street reporter Natalie Migliore went to the 59th Street entrance of Central Park at Columbus Circle to find out. She appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to ask New Yorkers what they think about safety in Manhattan’s idyllic urban oasis.

Migliore told a story about seeing teens recently with a Citi Bike trying to ram pedestrians in the park. One woman’s response to that? “If I saw one, I’d knock them over, you know,” she told Berman and Riedel. “That’s it; I’d hit him in the head with my phone and knock him over. The cops would be right there, ‘cause they usually are and they’re very good. They circle slowly and they’re in the cars, and there are cops in uniform walking and plainclothes. The park is very safe.”

Still, Migliore says common sense was the common thread most park-goers had about safety. One woman told her, “[Do] the same [thing] you do all over the city; put you phone down, keep your eyes out; if something looks suspicious or feels suspicious, you turn around and walk the other way, or look around for somebody to help you.”

Another woman said the trick is to stay vigilant while not trying to look like a target. “I stay on the main path, stick around other people, usually only have one ear bud in so I’m paying attention to what’s going in around me. I bring minimal stuff with me when I come, so I don’t bring a lot of things to take, and if someone wants my phone, he can have it.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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