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The 1850sThe 1860sThe 1870sThe 1880sEarly 20th CenturyThe 1920sThe 1930sPost civilization War IIThe 1960sThe 1970sThe 1980s

All text from:The Park and the People

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Crime in central Park | Gays in main Park
Crime in main ParkBeginning in the 1930s and specifically in the postwar decades, journalists used any incidents arising in central Park as a powerful symbol for metropolitan crime in general. Although this report exaggerated the problem, also incomplete and also not entirely reliable evidence leaves small doubt the crime, particularly against persons and property, had indeed increased significantly in central Park and throughout the city since the park opened. Most park "crime" in the so late nineteenth century -- and, it appears, in the at an early stage twentieth century also -- involved violations the park ordinances (by, because that example, "fast driving" or picking flowers) or of sanctioned standards of public behavior (by littering or appearing intoxicated in public). The number of arrests had actually gone up; in the 1860s felony arrests averaged around seven every year; through the 1880s they had actually probably quadrupled. Even so, felonies for every the city"s parks in that te were sixty-one per year, probably half or fewer of this in central Park. One century later, felonies in main Park had actually increased nearly thirtyfold, averaging nearby to nine hundred a year native 1979 to 1986. Severe crimes in central Park in 1980 alone most likely exceeded all felony arrests for the whole nineteenth century. Such comparisons must not be thrust too far, given far-reaching changes in the reporting, gathering, and classifying that crime statistics as well as the expansion of population throughout the city, particularly, on the park"s borders. After ~ all, human being had to be worrying around safety, particularly at night, almost since the park opened. In 1862 the park board had believed that "the closing of the Park at night is the such noticeable propriety, that it requires no dispute for the justification." A decade later on Olmsted warned, "I introduce no mrs to stroll in the Park" after ~ dark, "and i answer for no man"s security in it from bullies, garroters, or highway robbers after dusk." In 1907 a visitant from brand-new Hampshire scrawled on the back of a postcard that the Mall: "Bad ar to be after dark." and in 1929 a brothers visitor claimed that wade in London"s Hyde Park in ~ night can land girlfriend in police court, yet wandering through main Park might put girlfriend in the morgue. The british visitor"s perceptions had actually a firmer basis in 1979 than in one of two people 1879 or 1929. Over the eight year from 1879 come 1886, the police recorded only two homicide arrests for all the city parks, yet in the eight year from 1979 come 1986, thirty-five murders took location in central Park alone. Yet murder in the park was constantly rare when contrasted with the remainder of the city. In the 28th police precinct, straight north the the park, murders in the 1970s and also 1980s were much more than eighteen times as constant as in the park, and also even in the affluent district follow me the lower 5th Avenue border, murders were three times as common. The price of other felonies in the park was even lower than murders. Such figures support the protestations that park and police officials that central Park did not and does not deserve a reputation as "a fearful menace," as one television commentator has dubbed it.


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However if the park was, together officials never tired of remind people, one of new York"s "safest" police precincts, plenty of people believed otherwise.

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