The child found the gun along the waterfront near W. 19th St. on Monday, Aug. 11. After the incident, Councilman Mark Treyger expressed his concerns over the safety of beach goers at Coney Island and Brighton Beach.
“Hearing that a child came across a loaded handgun while simply playing in the sand was shocking and concerning to say the least,” Treyger said. “I am very relieved that nobody was injured or killed as a result, and I am not willing to keep taking chances when it comes to the public’s safety in Coney Island.”
In response, he repeated a call he has been making all summer on the Parks Department to provide more Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers, which would allow for more enforcement and better surveillance of the 2.5-mile stretch of beach and boardwalk.
“This must serve as a wakeup call to City Hall and the Parks Department regarding the need to provide additional Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to our community,” he said, “especially given the increasing number of New Yorkers and tourists visiting Coney Island.”
Treyger initially called for more PEP officers earlier this summer, after the city saw six drownings in about a month, including the death of 10-year-old Takara McDuffy, who drowned in the waters off Coney Island.
On Aug. 7, Treyger and Borough President Eric Adams made a formal request for more PEP officers in a letter sent to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
In his response to the letter, Silver seemed to be in agreement with Treyger for the need for better water safety awareness, as well as increased and more effective patrol forces. Silver did not, however, promise any additional officers to Treyger.
“We are looking at ways to increase Parks Security staffing at beaches citywide next season,” Silver said. “We are also researching equipment and tactics that might increase the effectiveness of the security forces.”
Currently, Silver said, Coney Island has 24 seasonal security officers who are supervised by four sergeants. Those officers work two tours from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. in order to provide the most coverage during the busiest beach hours.
“We in Parks are committed to keeping all New Yorkers safe,” Silver said.