Cars and Crime

Study: Cars in Prospect Park Means More Danger, Not Less Crime

A new report by Transportation Alternatives shows that there is no difference in the incidence of violent crime between car–free times and car–hours. In fact, on weekdays, crime is higher when cars are in the park. According to Brooklyn Committee Chair Clarence Eckerson, "Cars in the park means more danger, not less crime. Runners, walkers, cyclists or other park users are much more likely to see and deter a crime than a driver speeding past."

Using the year 1999 as a snapshot, T.A. analyzed the times and dates of all NYPD violent crime reports to see if there was any connection between the presence of cars and occurrence (or not) of crimes such as rape, robbery and assault.

Main Findings:

  • Of the total 31 violent crimes that occurred in Prospect Park in 1999, 16 were committed during hours when cars were allowed in the park.
  • In 1999, 13 out of 22 weekday violent crimes were committed when cars were in the park.
  • Crime in the Prospect Park was cut by nearly 50% when the Wollman Rink parking lot was closed overnight starting in 1999.

Support for a three–month trial car-free period starting Summer 2002.

Transportation Alternatives, with the support of Councilmembers James Davis, Bill DeBlasio and David Yassky, is calling for a three-month trial car free period this summer.