Two members of a gang show their gang sign at the playground in Highland Park in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Parks have seen a rise in gang related activity which the Brooklyn DA is keeping an eye on A Walk In The Park first reported. (Photo: Bryan Pace for NY Daily News)
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes says there's been an uptick in gangs in borough parks and playgrounds - and is keeping tabs on the thugs, according to the NY Daily News.
"We are definitely aware of the increase of gang activity in parks and playgrounds," said Hynes spokesman Jerry Schmetterer, who added the DA's Gangs Bureau is "monitoring their activity.
And we are in touch with the community about it."
The Daily News reported last week that two borough parks - Brower Park in Crown Heights and the Park Slope Playground - have been take over by street toughs, forcing parents and kids to find another place to play. Since then, The News has found four more Brooklyn parks and playgrounds where gangs have made themselves at home while residents stay away.
"It's a free space. We can't be out there [in the streets], there are mad cops," said Trinitario DPL Patria member Jeremy "Plantaniito" Garcia, 16, standing next to the swing set with his teenage pals inside Highbridge Park in East New York. Police sources said Highbridge Park is a battleground between warring Latin Kings, Bloods, and Trinitarios.
A man walking his dog in the park said he "minds his business" and gets in and out of the park when he sees gang members. Crips use Paerdegat Park on Albany Ave. in East Flatbush as a meeting spot and are battling the Ocean Ave. Bloods crews inside The Parade Grounds - a long stretch of green along Caton Ave. near Prospect Park.
Nanny Maureen Jobe, 49, said she won't stay at the Detective Dillion Stewart Playground near the Parade Grounds after 3 p.m. when teen thugs show up.
"Come here after 3, forget it," Jobe said. "It's becoming bad here. Before there weren't so many teens. They need cops patrolling the park. If the cops are here. They wouldn't be in here," Jobe said. Some cops told The News that unless they found drugs or weapons it's tough to bust the teens.
A Parks Department regulation forbids adults from being in a playground without a child. NYPD officials did not return calls for comment.
Park Slope residents living near the Dean Street Park off Flatbush Ave. said police busted dozens of teens during the summer pouring into the playground. They were part of Crip- affiliated flash mobs set up on Twitter and Facebook.
"I don't want to see no parents bury their sons over this nonsense," said dad Ralph Vernon.
"They have the upper hand. It's a whole new generation. They get on the computer and says 'let's meet up.'"
But not all Brooklyn residents are down on city cops. Bedford-Stuyvesant residents credited aggressive policing for keeping away thugs in recent weeks from a newly renovated park with a playground and basketball court in the Marcy Houses.
"The cops come in here when it gets dark. They go on the basketball courts and ask for ID. Then they kick them all out," said mom Angela Gray, 43, a Marcy Houses resident about the newly renovated park attached to the complex.
"They should be nicer. But it keeps us safe," Gray said.
Brooklyn DA warns of rise in gang presence in borough parks
New York Daily News - September 24th 2011 - By Simone Weichselbaum
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