Posted: April 13, 2012
About 30 residents at the Port St. Lucie Community Center were presented Friday evening with the city’s new plan to improve safety at city parks.
The plan was put together by city police officers and the Parks and Recreation Department in response to a shooting death that occurred last month near the basketball courts at Sportsman’s Park.
Noting that community input is an important component of effective crime reduction, City Manager Greg Oravec assured residents of the city’s commitment to keeping parks safe, urging them to call 9-1-1 if they see something suspicious. He said residents should not wait for a major incident before calling police.
Officer Fred Knaggs, who has been assigned full-time since November to patrol city parks, shared a statistical overview of park crime trends, noting the busiest days of the week for reports are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He said the most common crimes are property damage and burglary-related, and he pointed out that nearly two-thirds of all reported incidents of park-related crime occur between 2 and 9 p.m.
Knaggs said the parks with the most reported crimes are Whispering Pines and Sportsman’s, which each had 10 reports of crimes in the six-month period ending March 30. None were as serious or tragic as the shooting near Sportsman’s.
Oravec told the audience that it would never be possible to predict and stop every crime, but that no amount of criminal activity should ever be acceptable in Port St. Lucie.
Toward that end, the new plan calls for additional police patrol of parks, better lighting and the addition of 20 to 24 remote-controlled surveillance cameras in the regional parks that attract the most activity.
Under the new plan, which will be presented for City Council review April 23, Sportsman’s Park will be assigned two basketball court attendants, and outdoor court passes will be needed to play. Whispering Pines park also will be assigned an attendant, and two more park police officer positions will be created.
For more information about Friday’s public meeting or any park safety issues, call (772) 878-2277.
For more information, contact:
City of Port St. Lucie