PROSPECT HEIGHTS/CROWN HEIGHTS — After “shots fired” caused several shelter-ins at a Prospect Heights school, neighbors and students get extra protection at the adjacent playground.
According to a memo from Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, ten new officers will join the 77th precinct. The extra police force will help secure Elijah G. Stroud Playground and P.S. 316 (Elijah G. Stroud Elementary School) and M.S. 353 at 750 Classon Avenue and Sterling Place.
Currently, NYPD assigned officers at the playground between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm until the end of June, with additional officers stationed inside the playground during recess and dismissal. Pole cameras will also be installed. The Department of Education provided extra training to school staff but maintains that after evaluation no additional school safety officers will be assigned to the campus.
The increased security comes after parents and neighbors put pressure on the 77th pct. and local elected officials after four shooting-related incidents stoked safety concerns. The Parks Department, politicians, and School Safety met with more than 200 people at the Stroud campus.
“I’m proud of the way people in this community have united to try and make the park safe for all and welcoming for all,” said Erin Krasniewicz who has a first-grader at the school. “But it’s also very frustrating that the answer to a lot of the park’s needs is ‘We don’t have the resources, you have to put pressure on the mayor.'”
Krasniewicz went onto to question why officials failed to properly surveil a newly-renovated playground in an area prone to crew activity.
Cumbo’s office declined to provide a statement on the playground proposals. But she did confirm the details of the memos sent to concerned parents and neighbors.
The councilwoman’s office also confirmed the school will have access to retractable stanchions. The portable barriers designate restricted areas while children are in sections of the playground.
As police presence dwindles at the end of the school year, community-based organizations are also chipping in. Neighbors In Action (NIA) and Save Our Streets (SOS), two anti-gun violence organizations, will canvas the playground on Wednesdays and Fridays between 2:30 pm and 4:40 pm. They’ll monitor the area until the end of summer.
There’s no word on whether or not $500,000 high-grade security cameras will be installed at the playground. But Cumbo is on record as supporting the idea.
“Our kids in Brooklyn already lack enough safe outdoor spaces to play,” added Krasniewicz “Why put all this time and money into a park and then make parents beg to protect it?”