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Trees cut down for public safety

February 24, 2012 2:19:40 PM PST
Trees are being trimmed or cut down in Upper Manhattan in the name of public safety.

Officials say they've seen an increase in crime in the area and opening up certain areas will make them safer.

A symphony of chainsaws at Isham and Inwood Hill Parks is infuriating residents watching the pruning from the ground.

"I was horrified. I really was to see the trees coming down," said Blanche, a resident.

"I think the city and state jumped the gun. They cut way too early, and they cut many healthy trees down," said Andres Gomez, a resident.

The Parks Department says they don't want to cut down any trees, but they say they have to in the name of public safety.

"Wind really has the potential to take trees down," said Bill Castro, NYC Parks Department.

Bill Castro with the Parks Department says crews have removed more than 100 trees there this past week, most of them dead or decaying.

"If we have identified trees that in a wind storm could snap off in half or topple over, we remove those," Castro said.

After a series of recent muggings, workers are also clearing hanging limbs from walkways to make the area more open.

Some say crime is a problem there.

Police responded to a smash and grab while Eyewitness News was working on this story.

But that explanation does little to calm angry residents like Andres Gomez.

"Let's say there were little animals living inside these trees, they had no chance of escaping, they were shredded to pieces and that's not cool," Gomez said.

Not cool according to residents, but necessary city officials said.

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