City vows to make new playground in Crown Heights safe for community despite recent gang activity

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn -- Children are flocking to a brand new playground in Crown Heights, but parents are fearing for their safety.

"We don't need to worry that a gang is going to come and shoot them," concerned parent Monique Nieves said.

Gunfire and gang violence have plagued the neighborhood near the new Stroud Playground and nearby PS 316.

Katherine Frank's 2-year-old daughter was enjoying the playground Friday evening. But two weeks earlier they missed a shooting by minutes.

"There was a shooting at the playground and it had been between when we had left and when we had gotten home so it was pretty scary," Frank said.

And that was not an isolated event. There have been multiple lock-ins at the school this year due to violence and police activity outside.

On Thursday, elected officials, the Parks Department and the 77th precinct met with concerned community members. And Friday morning, a parent called into the mayor's weekly radio show on WNYC to bring it to his attention.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's said in response, "This is a problem I think we can go ahead on by having a really clear, strong police presence by the playground to break that cycle you’re discussing."

Fed up parents told PIX11 News they plan on holding city officials to their word. Scott Dubin said he is optimistic the city will follow through.

"What I heard last night were promises for enhanced lighting and cameras," Dubin said.

PIX11 News saw police patrolling outside the school and parked next to the park Friday evening. Tremane Nicholson said she wants to take it a step further.

"Give the kids something else to do. Where's the community centers for them to have an outlet as opposed to fighting and shooting and gangs," Nicholson said.

The community wants neighborhood children to fill the playground with laughter, not run away in fear.

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