City looks for solutions to violence, crime in Washington Square Park in Manhattan

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021
NYC looks for solutions to Washington Square Park violence
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Police continue to fight a rise in crime and violence at Washington Square Park, despite instituting a curfew a week ago.

GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police continue to fight a rise in crime and violence at Washington Square Park, despite instituting a curfew a week ago.

Washington Square Park was nearly picture-perfect Monday morning, but a closer look shows signs indicating how things here have recently gone south.

Resident Carolyn Kissane lives on the west side of the park.

"They cleaned up over this area which was called the drug den and recently cleaned up but just meant users moved over to another side of the park," Kissane said.

This latest wave of rowdy antics, with dance clubs still closed, have attracted hundreds if not thousands of people for late night raves.

The organizer, who lives in queens, gets paid to throw the parties.

In the crowd, experts say it's a few bad apples who recently pushed back against a 10 p.m. curfew.

Diana Rocco reports on the ongoing problem in Greenwich Village.

In the end, nearly two dozen people were arrested, and eight officers attacked.

One day after 23 people were arrested for violating a new 10 p.m. curfew, Washington Square Park stayed open all night Sunday into Monday

Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce has been briefed on the situation.

"This promoter is not paying anything, he's not paying a venue and he's getting this for free, so once we shut this down, we should need to do something, we'll see a change, immediate change," Boyce said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledges there is a problem, and that the city is trying to figure a solution.

"What the Parks Department and NYPD are trying to do is reset the balance properly, obviously do it in a way that involves communication not conflict," de Blasio said.

Brian Dube has lived on the north side of the park for 40 years and says summer nights have become a nightmare

"Bad as the 70's. It's not safe around here," he said.

But others in this area tell Eyewitness News, it's all relative.

Resident Janet Wolfman has lived here since 1969 and seen it all -- murders, assaults and then some.

"I don't think you guys know what bad is, you think this is bad, this is like gorgeous, this is wonderful," Wolfman said.

There is a community meeting with the police scheduled for Wednesday night. Until then, the midnight curfew remains in effect. But there's no one enforcing it.


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