By any measure, Coney Island has made major strides in real estate, business and safety since the seemingly lawless days of the 1970s and 80s, and has reclaimed its place in the pantheon of must-see New York City attractions.
But outside of the amusement area, there remains a popular mythology about the area’s safety – especially among those who hail from elsewhere in Brooklyn and remember its seedier days.
That’s illustrated in part by one user on Yahoo! Answers, who shares his story visiting the YMCA on Surf Avenue in the West End. Angelo went to the recreational facility for the first time with his mother, and on the way over he had a a few unfavorable interactions with people around the area.
He starts out with a seemingly paranoid tale of a guy who “started walking behind us,” he wrote. But Angelo, being the wily crime-fighter he is, decided to trick the stalker by stopping “to tie my shoes and he just went straight but why walk behind me?”
He then leaves the best part for last.
“Also a guy and his friends were walking and when we passed by they were like bang bang (hand motion) you lucky I ain’t strapped,” he wrote.
He ends the post by asking people if he should continue to use the YMCA, especially since he’ll often be there at night. But is that justified? How dangerous is that area really?
According to the latest CompStat report from the 60th Precinct, which covers Coney Island, Sea Gate and Brighton Beach, crime has decreased sharply over the past two decades. It’s a 70 percent drop since 1993.
Reductions since then have paled by comparison: the area now sees 1.2 percent less crime now than it did in 2001; not much of an accomplishment considering it has seen a 54 percent drop over the same time in Bensonhurst’s 62nd Precinct, and 37 percent citywide.
There have been significant personnel cuts since that year, but most commands in the city continue to see drops. Coney Island, though, has seen crime increase 13 percent in the past two years.
Still, it’s safer than it once was. But “safer” isn’t the same as “safe,” and clearly the legend of Coney Island’s roughness lives on today. But is it fact or fiction? You tell us.