Street closures for UN General Assembly

Park-goers call for more security in wake of Howard Beach killing

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NEW YORK — The vicious killing of Queens jogger Karina Vetrano may have other women looking over their shoulder, especially in city parks after dark.

Violent crime in city parks is up by 23 percent from July 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, when compared to the previous nine months.

The most dangerous park in the city is Crotona Park in the Bronx, where 23 violent crimes were reported.

“A few nights ago me and my children were coming home and there was a guy in the park on this end, and he had 2 pitbulls and he was standing on the hill and it was dark,” said Bronx mom Kim Bidias. “I stopped and I said you know, I don’t feel comfortable at all about this.”

Bidias chose to take the long route home with her two young sons that night.

"I did it because I knew my children would be safe,” said Bidias.

While Bidias’ tactic is to avoid trouble, some New Yorkers are taking a more aggressive approach, arming themselves.

“You can pull it straight off your person,” said Sara Julian, a mother who is working with a woman in Austin to sell a sports bra that comes with built-in lining capable of holding a knife, pepper spray or stun gun.

“It’s not a bad idea. Can never be too safe,” said a jogger in Riverside Park.

Park advocates are calling for more police protection. Geoffrey Croft says that on any given day there can be as few as two parks police officers assigned to an entire borough. He also warns that the crimes are underreported.

“Obviously you should be able to jog, you should be able to do what you want in a public park but the reality is... it’s not safe,” said Croft.

The NYPD says they have stepped up patrols of the park where Katrina Vetrano was killed but not elsewhere.

Sunday night a man was slashed in the groin in Prospect Park. The attacker in that case is still at large.