In an effort to curb quality-of-life complaints in Coney Island – many pertaining to the increased presence of Times Square-esque costumed characters illegally soliciting money on the Boardwalk – the waterfront nabe has been promised heightened security throughout the coming summer season.
The enhanced patrol – which, officials say, will include both cops and Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers – comes on the heels of city administration’s efforts to curtail the nuisance created by costumed characters in Manhattan, and a movement spearheaded by local politicians to do the same in southern Brooklyn.
“The historic challenge we have faced in Coney Island has been making sure that our police officers are not stretched too thin in the amusement area,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger who, alongside Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Diane Savino and Assemblymember Pamela Harris, fought for fair treatment from City Hall. “Getting more NYPD and PEP officers here is a win for everyone.”
The NYPD will provide an additional 20 police officers to its Coney Island summer detail – for a total of 84 additional officers since 64 were added in 2015. Furthermore, the Parks Department has committed to providing a clear schedule for PEP officers, while also assuring pols that it will open the summer 2016 season in Coney’s amusement area with “increased presence and aggressive enforcement.”
That increased PEP patrol, officials said, will allow the 60th Precinct to position police officers strategically to meet the needs of the entire community—not just the Boardwalk.
“The addition of more NYPD officers will provide a safer environment for residents and visitors alike, and more PEP officers provided by New York City Parks will allow the NYPD to dedicate its efforts appropriately,” said Treyger, who informed this paper on January 5 that his district had secured more than 30 new year-round cops. “The goal is to keep a strong police presence in both the amusement and residential sections of the community.”
“I have been clear about the need to put public safety first in every Brooklyn community,” said Adams. “A longstanding lack of enforcement regarding quality-of-life concerns along the Riegelmann Boardwalk has posed an unacceptable risk to resident and visitor safety in Coney Island.
“[Now] the People’s Playground will be a safer place for all this summer, while retaining the ‘character’ that makes it a second-to-none destination,” he said.
Still, Treyger said, there is always more enforcement to be had.
“There is still more work to be done, and we still need more officers,” he said, “but this is a step in the right direction.”