PROSPECT PARK, Brooklyn -- Prospect Park, the flagship park of Brooklyn, is a 585-acre oasis, and has a reputation for being a generally safe place -- but four attempted sex crimes in the past five weeks have put parkgoers on edge.
"It's disturbing it's really disturbing. You have to be aware of your surroundings and just be careful as you can don't come out too late," said one woman walking the park on this beautiful Spring day.
Prospect Park was very busy Friday with joggers, bikers, children, those out for a stroll or those who just want to take in nature.
Many were surprised to hear of the attempted sex assaults.
"I've not heard anything about that. I'm under the impression the park is generally safe if you stay in open areas I wouldn't necessarily go into the deep wood trail because it's isolated and desolate," said frequent jogger Andrea Dulko. The Prospect Heights resident says she often runs in the park but tries to do so only during peak hours.
Myra Kooy considers it her neighborhood park and says she and her wife come to the park all the time.
"You breathe the air out the trees breathe it back in for you bring you something fresh," Kooy said. "We have no problem coming to the park. We walk the park, sometimes I run and walk my friend's dog."
Hearing reports of four attempted sex crimes in or around the park in the last five weeks is disturbing.
"How can that not cause you a sense of alarm," Kooy said.
Kooy and her friend, Talu Green, were also enjoying the park Friday. Green was born and raised in the area and Prospect Park has been a big part of his life.
"Even as a male growing up coming to this park, there's certain areas of the park where things do happen and you go into a little cove or something the creeps are out there," Green said. "As a male, I have to sometimes look over my shoulder."
Green adds, "you want to be able to enjoy the fruits of the neighborhood the fruits of the community without having to look over your shoulder if you're just coming out for your morning run or just take a stroll or catch the breeze."
The frightening incidents don't appear to be connected. There is a different suspect in each case. In one incident, police are looking for two men. Police have either video or a sketch of the suspect(s) in each case.
On April 20, at 5:22 a.m., near the Garfield Place and Prospect Park West entrance, a man threw a 23-year-old jogger to the ground at knifepoint. She was able to get away.
On May 22, at 430 a.m., on 2nd street between 7th and 8th Avenue a man pushed the 21-year-old victim to the ground took off her clothes and attempted to rape her. The woman fought off the suspect and yelled for help. The suspect fled.
Then, two incidents this past Wednesday. at 2:15 a.m., two suspects pushed a 25-year-old woman against a car near Tennis Court and Ocean Avenue. One of the suspects kissed her neck and touched her over her clothing. She fought him off, only for the pair to follow her to a nearby building. Inside the vestibule, the suspects pinned the victim against the door and tried to remove her clothing. When the victim fought back, one of the suspects knocked her to the ground and punched her in the face. The suspects ran off.
Later that same day of May 25, in broad daylight at 2:40 p.m., a 24-year-old woman was approached by an unknown man who grabbed the victim's hand and led her into Prospect Park, where he groped her. He also exposed himself. The victim ran off and was not injured.
"I have four sisters, I have a niece and I have a mom, they can be that victim and to know that there's someone out here it's never something you want to hear especially in our backyard," Green said.
Prospect Park borders numerous communities, including Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Garden and Crown Heights.
People who frequent the park tell PIX11 with it being so big, some sides of the park are safer than others.
Despite these four cases of attempted sex crimes, Prospect Park is generally considered safe. Police from the 78th precinct are responsible for patrolling the park.