Safety First: Is Prospect Park Safe In 2024?

Are you craving the prospect of a great park? Try Prospect Park, a sprawling, majestic park that stretches across Brooklyn, the most populous borough in the Big Apple. New York City, just in case you didn’t know what the Big Apple is. 

Fun fact! Did you know? Manhattan comes in third in the population race amongst the five boroughs, even though it is the most well-known. Maybe that’s because so many people want to move near Prospect Park. 

Prospect Park is the second-largest park in Brooklyn, behind Marine Park. Five hundred acres leave a lot of room for crime. So, is Prospect Park safe? This article will delve into the subject and attempt to answer that question. 

Greener Pastures

Prospect Park belongs to the Brooklyn Queens Greenway. The Brooklyn Queens Greenway connects Brooklyn and Queens through a pathway of cycling paths and pedestrian walkways. 

Fun fact! Queens takes the cake for the second most populous borough in New York City. 

The Greenway also connects parts of Coney Island and Long Island. The route comes in at forty miles long and runs through Eastern Parkway, Ocean Parkway, and Ridgewood Reservoir, besides multiple parks along the way. 

Prospect Park is considered a scenic landmark and is actually noted on the National Register of Historic Places. 

A Glimpse Into Prospect Park’s History

The landmass that would become Long Island and the surrounding areas started forming over seventeen thousand years ago. This resulted in a string of hills that are among the tallest hills in Brooklyn. 

is prospect park safe - aerial view

For most of history, the area was forested, but after a couple hundred years of colonization, it matured into greener pastures. You can still catch a glimpse of the forest preserved inside the park, in a ravine nicknamed ‘The Last Forest Of Brooklyn’.

The area was the site of a major battle during the Revolutionary War. The proposal to turn the area into a park came around in 1859 and was subsequently designed by the same team behind Central Park in Manhattan. 

Today, Prospect Park receives over 10 million visitors a year!

Neighborhoods Surrounding Prospect Park

Prospect Park is surrounded by different little pocket neighborhoods, including some of the best, most highly rated neighborhoods in all of the five boroughs. In fact, Prospect Heights is rated #8 on the list of best neighborhoods to live in New York City and in many evaluations, rates an A+.

Other neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Park include Park Slope, another ritzy Brooklyn neighborhood, as well as Flatbush, Windsor Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

Demographics Of Prospect Park And The Surrounding Areas

The combined population of the surrounding areas totals a little above 350,000. The most affordable area is Prospect Park South. The highest population is in Flatbush, which over one hundred seventy thousand folks call home, according to 2021 figures.

Park Slope and Prospect Heights residents are primarily white with median incomes of over one hundred thousand USD annually. Flatbush residents are primarily Black and Hispanic and have more moderately middle-class incomes in the high five figures. 

park slope

The female-to-male ratio in all the surrounding neighborhoods lands a little more in favor of females at just a hair over evenly split. No sense splitting hairs about it!

Park Slope comes in at #8 on the list of best neighborhoods to raise a family. Flatbush is considered one of the most diverse.

While the unemployment rate overall in Prospect Park is higher than the citywide average and the Brooklyn average unemployment rate, some pockets are shining. For example, Park Slope has a remarkably low 3.4% unemployment rate. 

Prospect Park Real Estate

As stated earlier, plenty of people desire the green spaces and pleasant living Prospect Park has to offer. However, property prices differ from neighborhood to neighborhood.

The average median value of a house in Park Slope is over one and a half million. Whereas in Prospect Heights, the price comes down to a…more affordable?…1.1 million. 

Don’t think you can try your luck better in Flatbush. You’re still looking at over a million.

A large share of residents rent rather than own their homes in Flatbush. Eighty-two percent. Whereas in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, residents are more likely to be homeowners. Sixty-three percent in Prospect Heights rent rather than own and an even lower percentage rents in Park Slope: Only fifty-five percent.

prospect park

Median rent has increased twenty-five percent in Flatbush in the last ten years, and forty percent in the last fifteen years in Park Slope. Fifty percent in Prospect Heights!

Prospect Park Transportation

Unfortunately, there is no direct subway to Prospect Park. But there are plenty of ways to get around. Mostly buses from different parts of Brooklyn. 

One of the closest subway stations is only an express stop on the Brighton BMT line, an express line. You can catch the Q running at all times to Prospect Park Station and then it’s about a ten minute walk to the park itself. 

Other nearby subway options include Grand Army Plaza, near the Grand Army entrance to the park. Commuters are served additionally on the eastern side by the Parkside Station and on the western side by the 15th street station. 

You also have the four wheeled option of a taxicab, Uber or your very own personal vehicle. 

Is Prospect Park Good For Families?

No matter where, it’s always a great idea to raise children near places where they can get lots of fresh air, recreation and nature. They sleep better, for one. 

In addition, many of the surrounding neighborhoods rank high on the list of best places to raise a family in New York City. For example, Park Slope comes in at #8 on the list and Prospect Heights #6. 

is prospect park good for families
Prospect Park, New York, USA

Twenty-one percent of residents in Prospect Heights identify as families with children and twenty-eight percent in Park Slope. Even Flatbush is home to an identical twenty-eight percent families with children.

Over half of Park Slope residents polled name ‘family-oriented’ as the number one defining characteristic of the neighborhood and eighty percent of residents say Flatbush has a good sense of community.

But back to the park. There are so many activities and opportunities for children to learn and have fun in Prospect Park, starting with the only lake in Brooklyn.

The Prospect Park Zoo is full of wondrous creatures. There is a picnic house and a boathouse. Another area is called Outdoor Grove. It’s decorated with sculptured busts of musical icons and has been used through the ages as an outdoor music venue. 

Along the landscape, you’ll stumble about waterways and water courses, the aforementioned ravine, an artificial lake and Long Meadow, which was grazed by sheep until the 1930s. 

Additional Attractions

Besides all that, there are plenty of places for athletic exercise and sports. Basketball courts, baseball fields and soccer fields plus parade grounds and playgrounds.

Lefrak Center offers ice-skating, figure skating, cross country skiing and hockey in the winter. Concerts are performed regularly in the summer at the Bandshell. The park hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. 

For the adults, there’s a tennis center! The Brooklyn Botanical Center is also adjacent to Prospect Park. 

Schools Near Prospect Park

Residents in the surrounding areas of Prospect Park vary in their level of education. A large share of residents of Prospect Heights and Park Slope possess masters degrees, while in Flatbush a greater majority hold an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Public schools in the area are operated by the New York City Department of Education. There are a wide range of schools to choose from, both public and private, from elementary to high school.

Top-rated schools include Maple Street Elementary School and Berkeley Carroll for high schoolers. Most schools in the area have good ratings. 

Politics and Park Management

Prospect Park is managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and another group called the Prospect Park Alliance, a nonprofit organization which has focused on refurbishing and reenergizing the park since the nineteen eighties.

Most neighborhoods in the Prospect Park area belong to the 9th Congressional District, which is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Yvette Clark, a Democrat.

Prospect Park belongs to District 40 locally and is represented on the New York City Council by Rita Joseph. Prospect Park is represented in the New York State Senate by Kevin S. Parker, elected to the 21st district. Mr. Parker is also a Democrat.

Representing the entire state of New York City in the U.S. Senate are Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, both Democrats. 

In general, Prospect Park is considered to be a progressive community.

Is Prospect Park Safe In 2024?

With 10 million visitors a year, that’s a valid question. That’s a lot of potential victims and quite a few potential criminals.

Prospect Park is patrolled by the 78th precinct of the New York Police Department. Weekly updated crime stats can be accessed from their web page. It is also recommended to access a relationship with their neighborhood coordination officers, who are introduced on the precincts’ page. 

The precinct reports that crimes are down significantly in the last twenty years. A steady decline, with the number of crimes decreasing by more than half over that period.

There was a small spike in crime for a couple years, but that has cleared up. Prospect Park is listed as 4th on the list of parks with the highest amount of crime. Violent crime rates are much lower than property crime rates like robbery. In some surrounding neighborhoods, the number of murders was zero. 

Crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods vary, but remain consistent in two major categories: Less than the borough and citywide averages and much smaller violent crime rates compared to property crime rates. The lowest serious crime rate per 1,000 residents is, a little surprisingly, Flatbush. 

Actually, considering the massive number of people who pass through Prospect Park, the number of crimes reported is quite miniscule. It is also important to realize that most of those crimes happen after dark, which is the most dangerous time to be in the park.

The usual rules apply. Travel in groups. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your belongings and don’t leave them unattended. And the less scared you seem, the less likely you are to become a target.

One thing that will probably make you feel more secure is the fact that there are plans in the works for more security cameras. City Council members are clamoring for it. 

You can be sure it’s safe to walk your dog in Prospect Park. Depending on your breed of dog, of course. There are special designated off-leash areas and dogs can be a crime deterrent in and of themselves. 

What Do Residents Say?

In most recent surveys, residents of surrounding neighborhoods describe the area as friendly, progressive and even exuberant. 

Their advice for new neighbors includes being aware of the high cost of living. They advise checking out the nearby libraries, art galleries and museums. They say to get to know your neighbors.

Residents comment that Prospect Park is a place where arts, food, culture and music are explored. They say it is very diverse and very safe and that they enjoy the accessibility of the park. 

In conclusion, Prospect Park is a mostly safe place to visit and the surrounding historical neighborhoods offer pleasant living possibilities. If the sun is shining, why not take a walk in the park? 

*Note: some statistics may be taken from combined data for Prospect Park and surrounding areas. 

Is Prospect Park Brooklyn a good place to live?

Prospect Park is a large public park in Brooklyn, New York City. The neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Park, such as Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Windsor Terrace, are generally considered desirable places to live. These areas offer a mix of historic brownstones, tree-lined streets, and proximity to the park itself. The neighborhoods have a variety of restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions, making them vibrant and attractive to many residents. However, like any location, the suitability of living there depends on individual preferences, needs, and budget.

Is Prospect Park safe for running?

Prospect Park is a popular spot for running, jogging, and other recreational activities. Many residents and visitors use the park’s loop and trails for exercise. During daylight hours, especially on weekends and in good weather, the park is typically bustling with activity, making it feel safe for most. However, as with any urban park, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re running during off-peak hours or in less frequented areas of the park.

What is the crime rate in Prospect Park?

Violent Crime:
Assault: 277.1 (National: 282.7)
Murder: 0 (National: 6.1)
Rape: 15.4 (National: 40.7)
Robbery: 15.4 (National: 135.5)
Property Crime:
Burglary: 77 (National: 500.1)
Theft: 877.5 (National: 2,042.8)
(Note: Motor Vehicle Theft data was not provided.)
This summary highlights the crime rates in Prospect Park in comparison to national averages.