We've been following a debate about leaving Park Slope pretty avidly. On Christmas Day, writer Douglas Rushkoff blogged about being mugged the night before while taking out the trash on his Park Slope street.
Getting a knife pushed into your ribcage now and again is just part of the price we pay to live in a city, and New York is supposedly one of the safer of the bunch. But I have to admit, it makes me question working two extra gigs (I won't divulge which ones they are) in order to pay the exorbitant rent this part of Brooklyn - when the streets are less safe than they were in the supposedly bad parts of Manhattan where I used to live.
His wife, writer Barbara Rushkoff, blogged about it as well on her blog A Girl Grows in Brooklyn and revealed that the cop got "really defensive, acting as if Doug was in the wrong for not calling immediately last night when it happened." Plus, she wrote:
The deep dark secret about Park Slope is that there's tons of crime here. According to the detectives from today, Manhattan is safe, but Brooklyn is decidedly not.
The Rushkoffs discuss leaving Brooklyn in their posts and in the comments, and, now, their friend and neighbor, writer Steven Berlin Johnson, enters the fray with a comment to "make the case for Brooklyn", in spite of terrible muggings that do happen. He mentions the diversity as well as the fact that crime is down in the city and pulls out some stats:
Barbara talked on her blog about feeling much safer in the east village in the 1980s. If you look at the precinct data on the NYPD site, you can see that the there were literally FIVE times as many crimes committed in the east village in 1990 than in the Park Slope precinct in 2005, even though the east village has only about 20% more people in the precinct. (Exact numbers: 5,991 crimes in the east village in 1990 vs. 1,138 in the Slope in 2005.) Interestingly, the east village in 2005 had slightly more crime per capita than Park Slope.
While city touts and its residents revel in the fact that NYC is the safest big city, it's still a city and there will always be some level of crime. All in all, a very complicated, very subjective debate - what would you do in this situation (or what have you done)?
Photograph of brownstones and blue skies on Flatbush by Newington on Flickr