Robberies on the rise in Prospect Park as thieves target smart-phone users

Posted at 7:17 PM, Feb 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-03 19:17:18-05

Robberies are on the rise in Prospect Park.

The latest NYPD crime stats show that already this year robberies in the 78th Precinct have more than doubled when compared to the same point last year.

And police sources tell PIX11 that many of those robberies have happened in Prospect Park.

“Sometimes it can be a little empty and that can be scary, but I’ve never seen anything go down,” said Emily Lovecchio

Police say they believe group of teens have targeted smart phone users walking in the park after dark.  With plenty of runners and dog walkers using the park at all hours the teenage thugs have tons of targets.  That’s why some visitors say they survey their surroundings before taking out their smartphones.

“If there’s somebody a little weird or suspicious in the park or on the subway, I think about that and don’t necessarily take it out and mess with it,” Max Greis said.

To help cut down on stolen smartphones, police from all over Brooklyn’s South Division have come here to the 78th Precinct to increase patrols in Prospect Park, and so far most park-goers say they’ve noticed.

“I definitely noticed more police presence, more vans at different times of the night,” said Rob Machold. “There’s a lot more police cars and flashing lights especially after 9 when we walk the dog.”

Most people say the visible police presence gives them peace of mind and they’re confident cops will round-up the robbers quickly.

So they’re not worried about using the park after dark.

“I think in general the park is very safe, certainly gotten much safer in the 15 years since I’ve been here.”