Inwood Hill Park is a bucolic escape in northern Manhattan. But that peace has been disturbed, and some parkgoers are on edge, since a man attacked three women over the course of an hour at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. One woman was struck with a tree branch, causing her to lose consciousness.
“I’m really frustrated with the whole situation because we’ve been asking for help, screaming for help, and it just kind of feel like it’s fallen on deaf ears,” local resident Tamara Campbell said.
Sources say police have a person in custody, who sources say is being questioned at the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights.
Rachael Camhi was in the park the day of the attacks.
“I happened to be here at 9:30, so then to hear that this happened around 11 is really scary. And there’s many times, maybe two days before, I’ve been there at 11 and it’s right at the path that I go on, so it’s particularly hard for me,” Camhi said.
Residents like Camhi who enjoy the park came together Friday with the first of two community-organized walks, called “Take Back the Light.”
“We want everyone to feel safe up here and for everyone to be able to come out here and enjoy this kind of amazing spot in New York City,” local resident Damien Caza-Cleypool said. “It’s important to represent the community in that way.”
Still, they wonder what can be done next to keep the park safe.
“I don’t know what the next step is. Do we still walk in the woods? Do we stay over here? Do we need more police? I don’t really know what the answer is, but right now, it feels really scary,” Camhi said.
Parkgoers noticed more officers form the NYPD and the Parks Enforcement Patrol.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat said help is on the way.
“It’s more mounted police, more PEP officers, better lighting and cameras,” he said.
“We do need more of a police presence, but we need people that are willing to diffuse the situation not escalate it but something has to be done these crimes are happening during the day,” Campbell said.