Although cops seized a sizable amount of pills and pot during a traffic stop this week near Homecrest Playground, neighbors say the local precinct’s neglect of the park, near Homecrest Avenue and Shore Parkway, has allowed it to be overrun by dangerous drug activity.
On Tuesday at 9pm, officers from the 61st Precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit pulled over a car outside Homecrest Playground at 9pm — they arrested the five passengers after discovering several illegal substances, including five plastic bags of marijuana, a “significant amount” of pain relievers, and 1,031 tablets of anxiety medication alprazolam, according to the NYPD.
Great job by our Anti-Crime Team for arresting 5 individuals with drugs by Homecrest Park-Keeping our parks safe!???? pic.twitter.com/VOIgqvyqhu
— NYPD 61st Precinct (@NYPD61Pct) August 19, 2015
According to police, all five passengers, who range in age from 17 to 23, were charged with at least four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. One was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and the driver was also cited for two traffic violations.
However, Regina Groyzburg who lives nearby, said Tuesday’s arrest was a sign that criminal activity at the park was out of control. She argued that a regular police presence is needed to stop the brazen drug activity that has made the playground unsafe for families to bring their children.
“If the police wanted to crack down on drug dealing that would be a perfect place to start. It’s not something that happens once in a blue moon. It happens all the time. It’s in broad daylight and it’s in your face,” she said. “And nobody’s doing anything about it, which just encourages more and more people to do that because they think it’s okay.”
In April, Groyzburg and a few other mothers who live near the park started the Facebook group Save Homecrest Playground. Part of the group’s purpose, she said, was to document how long it took police to respond to a calls about drug activity in the park.
“We made a pact when we started that Facebook page to document when we call the local precinct,” she said. “So we’ve all been doing that but half the time the police don’t even come, and then when they do come it’s hours and hours later.”
Posts to the Facebook page contain complaints about homeless people occupying the park, rampant drug use, and calls to police that brought no response.
Groyzburg said she won’t even bring her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to the playground anymore. Instead, she drives 45 minutes to a park in Brooklyn Heights to use their playground equipment.
“There’s a bigger issue here. And that’s just general public safety and making people feel like they should stay in this neighborhood,” Groyzburg said. “Playgrounds should be a place where kids can go to exercise and interact with their peers. It’s not supposed to be a place where people go to buy drugs.”