Following several years of noise complaints and reports of nightly mischief in and around the softball field parking lot on Vermont Place near the Jackie Robinson Expressway, 104th Precinct Captain Christopher Manson announced that his department has now worked out a plan with the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn to close down Highland Park after 9 p.m. and monitor all late-night activity.
Manson said that while a majority of the crimes that occur in the park are non-violent and are typically related to drinking after games at the softball field, the department is now working more diligently towards creating a safer park for nearby residents.
“Every night I am sending in officers to close the park down,” Manson said last week at a meeting with members of the local media. “In the daytime, you get the families with the hibachi, and that’s great. But once it gets dark a different element does come in the park, and that element wants to get intoxicated and play their music loud.”
In addition to putting a cap on nightly activity, the 104th Precinct also plans to send their Temporary Headquarters Vehicle (THV) during busy holidays and events like July 4th, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and Cinco de Mayo.
“There are five or six heavy time periods where it’s just crazy busy,” he said. “I want people to be safe. I want the families to come and people to use the park and barbecue or whatever they do, but at a reasonable time it ends.”
Community Affairs Officer Thomas Bell added that officers are expected to set up in the park at about 8:30 p.m. to give forewarning.
“The park closes at 9, but we will give them some time to start gathering their stuff,” Bell explained.
Over the last month, Manson reported that the precinct issued more than 260 summonses for crimes in parks, 22.5 percent of all summonses in the precinct, and 80 of which were for having an open container of alcohol.
“They range from everything from open beers in public, urinating, disorderly conduct, to marijuana, reckless driving and a ton of other categories,” Manson said. “This doesn’t stop.”