NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — As New York eases pandemic restrictions and the summer brings more crowds, crime is on the rise — especially in one of the city’s most iconic parks.
Those who live near Washington Square park say party crowds have been sparking violence for weeks. At times, they’ve clashed with police.
It’s an area bordered by million-dollar Greenwich Village homes and the campus of New York University.
Neighbors told NewsNation they felt powerless. “We are really held hostage by this situation,” one said.
The situation is escalating. A 42-year-old woman was injured this weekend when a mob trampled her. Police said the group was running from a man armed with a taser and a knife. He’s now in custody and the woman’s recovering after a trip to the hospital.
The New York Police Department reports violent crime is up 22% in the city since May of 2020. They said shootings are up 73%.
It’s a trend seen in other areas of the country as well. Murders were up 200% in Los Angeles in the first four months of 2021. Chicago reports shootings are up 24%, but murders are down.
In the affluent neighborhood around New York’s Washington Square, there’s real apprehension now about why this is happening and what the rest of the summer may bring.
“It’s been a strange year,” a neighbor told NewsNation. “It’s been a hostile year, an uncertain year and I think that’s coming out in how people are behaving.”