I noted last week how empty Washington Square Park was as I walked there but at no time did I feel nervous walking through. Yet, A Walk In the Park Blog reports that two people (one a Parks Department employee) have been attacked in the last month in Washington Square, one attack occurred last week.
On February 10th, a Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officer patrolling the park was assaulted, and, a few weeks prior, a tourist was apparently attacked in the men’s room. People leaving comments at A Walk in the Park Blog have stated how “dangerous” they believe Washington Square Park is and suggested that the New York City Parks Department is keeping these incidents quiet.
From A Walk In the Park Blog:
New details have emerged in the attack of a female Park Enforcement Officer (PEP) in Washington Square Park on Thursday, February 10th. PEP Officer Brooks was attacked by a homeless male described as an emotionally disturbed person (EDP) at approximately 11:30am.
The officer, working solo, was sitting in a vehicle when she was approached by multiple park patrons complaining of man harassing people in the park, according to city sources.
The man was reportedly going up to people making gestures like he was going to hit them. One patron said “Hey this guy is going to hurt somebody, you have to say something to this guy. “
The piece continues, reporting that the officer, a female, told the man to stop; he approached her and was “irate.” The officer called for back-up which did not arrive in time to assist her. No one from the public intervened. After some words, the man kicked her in the stomach and then fled the park.
In addition, A Walk in the Park writes of the other attack at the park:
This incident follows a vicious assault on a tourist by an EDP in the men’s bathroom a few weeks earlier in the park. The tourist, believed to be French, was punched in the face and left bloodied, and knocked out on the floor. The assailant is reportedly a park regular. No arrests have been made in that incident either. – Geoffrey Croft
This brings up a lot of questions: Are these isolated incidents? Is having 3/4 of the park closed at one time leading to a more insecure and vulnerable situation there? Has the climate of “safety” in the city changed in general? Are other parks experiencing this?