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A series of random or unprovoked attacks on children in New York City, including some of the Big Apple’s wealthiest neighborhoods, has seen police and parents prepare to send children back to school as early as next month.
Children on the streets of New York City suffered such attacks last week, when three unsuspecting pre-teens were punched and shoved while they were in celebrity-drenched Greenwich Village, according to multiple local reports.
And the number of victims under 18 increased by 34% year-on-year by 2021, the figures show. According to data provided by the New York Police Department (NYPD), 117 people under the age of 18 have been shot this year through August 14, compared to 87 children and teenagers shot during the same period in 2021.
But experts have warned against the notion of any trend towards attacks on children. As of August 14, citywide homicides and shootings and involving victims of all ages were down, while the rate of aggravated assault rose 19%.
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As New York City parents prepare their children for school in early September, an NYPD spokesperson said the department “regularly evaluates the security measures deployed in New York City schools and based on those evaluations, we make necessary adjustments.”
“Additional NYPD deployments are determined based on intelligence gathered, schools that have had challenges and schools that require an increased presence. Safe corridors are established between certain schools, and the nearest transit hub provides a safe route during school arrivals and dismissals,” the spokesperson said. wrote in an emailed statement. “The locations of the corridors change regularly based on crime data and analysis of trending incidents.”
A 12-year-old girl was in the area of Washington and West 11th streets shortly after 5 p.m. Aug. 9 when 34-year-old Rodney Perry randomly punched her in the face, local affiliate Fox 5 New York reported. He reportedly suffered a minor injury but is otherwise fine.
Perry then carried out two more unprovoked attacks when he hit an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old girl nearby, police told the station. None of the victims were injured.
Perry was charged with assault, though it was unclear at the time if he was released as part of the state’s bail reform law, Fox 5 reported.
Greenwich Village, which also houses the main campuses of New York University and The New School, boasts wealthy residents, movie stars and other Hollywood A-listers, including Taylor Swift, Alec Baldwin, Seth Meyers, Hilary Swank and disgraced filmmaker Harvey Weinstein. Then-wife Georgina Chapman, a fashion designer.
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According to Realtor.com, homes in the neighborhood listed for a median price of $1.4 million and sold for a median price of $1.5 million.
Williamsburg Assault and Scooter Swipe
A 6-year-old girl was riding her Razor scooter through Brooklyn’s upscale Williamsburg neighborhood, an area with a median home price of $1.4 million, realtor.com estimates. According to authorities, a trio of violent thieves targeted the girl on the evening of July 28. One of the three suspects allegedly punched him in the chest and the others stole the scooter.
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The male suspect later fled. The victim was treated at the scene. Police later released surveillance footage of the suspects, who are believed to be between 14 and 16 years old.
Punched steps from the plaza
Meanwhile, in March a 9-year-old girl from Miami was randomly punched while walking near Manhattan’s historic Hotel Central Park and The Plaza, according to multiple reports and a good Samaritan.
Raheem Ramsaran, 27, was seen “screaming” at people before launching his unprovoked attack on the young woman, said doorman Neil Johnson, who intervened to help.
Just before 11:30 a.m. on March 21, Ramsarran reportedly punched the girl in the head near the intersection of Central Park South and Grand Army Plaza, when Johnson, who was working at The Plaza, entered.
“I heard a man scream … then I heard a woman scream, so I ran toward Central Park South. There was a man walking very fast toward a woman with a baby carriage and a little girl. The little girl was crying, and the woman was screaming,” he told Fox News shortly after the attack.
“When you hear a woman screaming, and when you see a woman with a baby carriage and a little girl running away from a man screaming, you have to help.”
FOX 5 New York reports that the young victim was treated at the scene and did not require further treatment. Ramsarran was arrested minutes after the alleged attack.
4-year-old punched in Times Square
In February, Babacar Mbaye, 34, was arrested for randomly attacking a 4-year-old boy — and allegedly punching the child in the head — after causing a stir in Times Square, according to multiple reports.
Mbaye is charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest for the alleged February 17 assault. According to the New York Post, he admitted to prosecutors that he drank a bottle of sanitizer before the attack.
His defense attorney argued in court shortly after his arrest that Mbaye was “under the influence of an intoxicated, debilitating psychosis,” Newsweek reported.
The boy was not seriously injured.
‘Asking the tough questions’
Speaking to Fox News Digital on Thursday, a retired NYPD detective sergeant said the city often struggles with mentally ill criminals. And whether mental health is at play, the type of suspect or incident often shares similarities.
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“People who do this – whether mentally ill or not – always look for the most vulnerable. And they’re usually very young and very old,” says Joseph Giacalone, who now works as an associate professor at JOHN in New York City. J College of Criminal Justice.
He noted that the issue of children as victims is “difficult to define” and varies based on the circumstances of each case.
“Each case has to be handled differently and the reasoning behind it,” Giacalone added. “You’re dealing with the mentally ill attacking kids on the streets of Manhattan. And then you look at the outer boroughs, even the Harlem area and the Bronx and Brooklyn. We’ve seen these drive-by shootings … two different things. We can’t put the two together, but they all Very serious.”
Now-retired NYPD Chief Louis Anemone, a longtime police executive who retired as the agency’s highest-ranking member, told Fox News Digital that random, violent crimes against children — while tragic — are unfortunately not uncommon.
Anemone, who has been credited as the mastermind behind the NYPD’s CrimeStat program, said reports of such attacks on children would likely spur a greater police presence in the area, especially if it’s a high-trafficking area.
“If they’re usually in public places, shopping areas, transportation areas, you want to see the police there,” Anemone said by phone. “We can’t cover every single street in the city, but we can definitely cover the high traffickers.”
Speaking about trends and crimes involving children coming to and from the school, Anemone said she’s learned in her 35 years with the NYPD that people have to ask “tough questions.”
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“How did this kid get punched? Where did it happen? What time of day? Where was he coming from and going? What about the perp? … What’s behind it?” Anemone has been added. “I hope they’re asking these questions.”