By Geoffrey Croft
Drug arrests in Central Park have more than doubled over the last year, according to the latest figures from the NYPD.
Police have made 65 drug-related arrests in the park so far this, compared to 32 last year, an increase of 103 %.
The NYPD has been stepping up enforcement in the North end of the park, concentrating on the wooded areas north of 106th Street. Officers from the narcotics unit, a division of NYPD's Organized Crime Control Bureau (OCCB) have made 20 arrests, compared with 2 last year, an increase of 233.3%.
Other crimes in Central Park are up too: Overall crime in the park for the seven major felonies, (not including drug arrests) is 90 this year compared to 62 last year, a 45.2% increase from last year.
Grand larceny jumped 60 percent, with 56 crimes compared to 25 last year, with only five arrests. Robberies increased 22 percent, with 22 so far this year compared to 18 last year, while the number of arrests for robbery has soared, 26 this year compared to 15 last year, an increase of 73 percent.
An additional 7 officers were permanently assigned to the park in September, A Walk In The Park has learned. In July the NYPD flooded Central Park with additional officers. The officers were temporarily assigned to the park from other details and precincts in order to help combat a spike in crime. At that time, Central Park had seen the highest increase in crime of any area in the city. As a result of these temporary assignments, the Central Park precinct doubled their man-power of officers available for patrol, according to a enforcement source. The park has seen a sharp decline in officers assigned to the 843 acres over the last decade.
"Since [the NYPD] were getting their asses handed to them over the summer, they have stepped up getting out there and dealing with quality-of-life issues," a police source told A Walk In The Park. "Downtown responded and they flooded the park [with new officers]. It's paying off. The new officers are very much needed. We were really down in numbers."
Source: NYPD Compstat 10/18 thru 10/24.