Central Park crime wave

- Central Park is one of the most beautiful parks anywhere, but it has been plagued by cellphone robbery crews. Now after an attempted rape Monday night, police are stepping up patrols before it gets any worse.

The NYPD presence is more visible than usual throughout Central Park after what police are calling a rise in crime, especially near East 107 Street and East Drive where a jogger was attacked about 9:30 Monday night, police said.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said a heavyset man threw the woman to the ground and tried to rape her. She fought him off and he fled.

Women told Fox 5 that they usually feel safe here, but are now on edge after hearing about groups robbing people of their phones and the rape attempt.

Over the Columbus Day weekend, two separate, violent cellphone robberies took place. Police said that at about 11:30 Friday night, a crew of 8 to 9 teens beat and stomped a man walking near 69 Street and East Drive and stole his phone and tablet. Around the same time Sunday night, a man on a bike was knocked to the ground near 95 Street and East Drive, beaten and robbed of his phone.

They're two of five incidents this past month. Police said they're trying to change the disturbing pattern.

The size of the park and the many paths make it a challenge to patrol, but police said they will be much more visible everywhere.

To park advocate Geoffrey Croft, park safety needs to be higher on the priority list. He said that while crime is down citywide, crime is up in city parks.

Now we've also learned there was yet another cellphone robbery Monday just outside the park at East 109 and 5 Avenue. That is why in addition to beefing up police presence in the park, police are also adding perimeter patrols.

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