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Residents in New York City‘s elite neighborhood of Greenwich Village met with the NYPD on Wednesday to plead with cops to take action on the spiraling chaos and lawlessness at the city’s iconic Washington Square Park where multiple people were beaten and stabbed just last weekend.
Hundreds of locals joined the meeting at Lady of Pompeii Church to complain the park ‘has become a drug den’.
‘The criminality has extended to our quaint street,’ one woman told attendees. ‘From lewd acts to nudity to drugs, crack being smoked on our street, our children have witnessed people shooting up.’
Others complained the park, which has had a new curfew imposed recently to tackle the drugs and partying, has ‘become a free-for-all’.
‘There were rules that have been put in place for everyone’s safety, but they have not been enforced,’ one man told DailyMail.com while waiting to get into the emergency hearing about the rising crime, ‘and when they’re not enforced, you’re just telling people to keep on.’
They were just some of several hundred people who tried to get into the church on Wednesday to air their grievances, while as many as 100 more were turned away from the meeting and protestors outside argued against an increased police presence at the park.
The soaring crime in the park is part of a bigger pattern of rising crime across the city which has resulted in multiple random Subway attacks and dozens of shootings.
Residents in New York City’s elite neighborhood of Greenwich Village met with the NYPD on Wednesday to plead with cops to take action on the spiraling chaos and lawlessness at the city’s iconic Washington Square Park
Protestors argue with a woman outside Our Lady of Pompeii Church, where a community meeting was being held about the situation in Washington Square Park
The line to get into the community meeting to discuss the rise in crime at Washington Square Park extended beyond the block
The New York Police Department’s Sixth Precinct called the emergency meeting amid growing complaints from merchants and residents about the non-stop partying at the park, where people were stabbed and beaten over the weekend- and a diner cook was thrown through a window.
‘The park has become a drug den, it’s not about the music,’ one woman said at the meeting, according to the New York Post.
Another speaker complained about skateboarders inside the park, and said police should be able to ‘get rid of the skateboarders in one day.’
‘All you have to do is have the police confiscate the skateboard,’ Bob Schumann said, ‘it will not be that traumatic for the snowflakes.’
One man said the problems have always existed.
‘There’s always been drug dealing,’ he said. ‘ There’s always been mentally-imbalanced people. There’s always been some bad behavior.’
‘I find it interesting that right before an election, suddenly there’s all this press about how dangerous the park is when a former cop is in the lead for mayor.’
‘Many of the problems in the park have come from police overreaction,’ he alleged.
Others outside of the church protested the meeting, with some claiming people were just upset with the chaos at the park because ‘it’s bad optics for them [the white people] to see black and brown people’ at the park.
A man dressed like The Joker from Batman criticized the media
Protestors stand outside Our Lady of Pompeii Church, where a community meeting was being held about the situation in Washington Square Park
Not everyone was able to make it into the church for the meeting, with up to 100 people being turned away
A man was ushered away by the police outside of the community meeting during a protest over an increased police presence at Washington Square Park
Cops, meanwhile, have said that alcohol and drugs are being used at the park, and implemented a 10 p.m. curfew at the park, which was pushed back last weekend to midnight, though residents have said the partying has continued well beyond 2 a.m.
And an increased police presence has only led to more problems, according to ABC 7, with five officers hurt trying to close the park after curfew earlier this month as 23 people were arrested.
‘There’s going to be a presence of police officers in there and our goal is pretty simple here – for people to be allowed to use the park because it is a beautiful park, it always has been, but also public safety,’ said NYC Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
‘So we will continue to be there for the residents of the community,’ he said. ‘We are intending on being there, enforcing the closing with the parks department.’
‘We’re gong to allow the parks department to lead in regards to going through the park and trying to escort people out of the park during the hours of closure,’ Chief Rodney Harrison added. ‘Unfortunately, we’ve had incidents in the past that got a little contentious if it gets to that point, that’s when the NYPD will assist and step in.’
The New York City man behind out-of-control raves in Washington Square Park has said that fed-up wealthy residents should be the ones to leave. Partygoers are pictured on June 10
Two women are seen dancing during a massive rave in Washington Square Park on Friday. Local residents say anti-social behavior is making their lives unbearable
People gather in Washington Square Park, Manhattan, New York, where police did not enforce a 10pm curfew on Friday
People continue to gather in Washington Square Park after the 10 PM curfew on June 6
Police Chief Steve Hughes asked the public what they would like to see happen. ‘Do we want the park closed at 10? Do we want the park closed at 12?’
‘I have some ideas,’ he said. ‘I would prefer an early closing, but I’ll go with what the consensus is.’
Many said they would like the police to enforce the curfews that are already in effect.
But as many as 100 local residents could not even get into the meeting, and instead held their own meeting outside, where a man dressed as The Joker railed against the media.
A man wearing a similar question had slugged a 38-year-old man.
And protestors outside criticized the idea of a larger police presence in the park.
‘It sounded like everyone just wanted to b****,’ Joe Cotuhngo told the Post. ‘I don’t think there are any real concrete plans.’
He added that they just want the police to enforce the laws that are already on the books, with another man adding at the meeting: ‘I think if we can get rid of the criminals in the park, that would make a world of difference.’
Crimes have been rising throughout New York City, according to the NYPD
Statistics show shooting crimes have been up this year city-wide compared to last year
But crime has been up throughout the city, with increases in almost every category since last year.
In the last 28 days, there have been 41 murders, 100 rapes, 1,051 robberies, 1,771 cases of felony assault, 839 burglaries, 2,630 cases of grand larceny and 854 cases of grand larceny auto.
In total in 2021, there have been 32,695 major crimes reported. There have been nearly 400 more major crimes reported this week in New York than there were in the same week last year – a surge in 30 percent.
Bill de Blasio says crimes has soared because the world was ‘turned on its head’ with COVID. He has also blamed a backlog in the court system for it, saying it means criminals are on the streets longer than they might have been before.