No crime spike yet at Flood Park


Click on chart to enlarge.

By Sandy Brundage

Almanac Staff Writer

When the county first said that Flood Park might have to close permanently, residents worried about their safety as well as the loss of a popular community resource. Twenty-one acres of empty space in the middle of a neighborhood seems like a prime target for crime.

However, data provided by the Menlo Park Police Department suggests that the park, which sits between Bay Road and the Bayshore Freeway, has not turned into a magnet for crime since it was closed in September to let the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission install a water pipeline.

The Almanac looked at the number and type of crimes reported from September through March for the past four years. Crime peaked during the months immediately before the closure, with double the number of incidents compared to the average 12 reported during the same time period in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Out of the 26 reported crimes from September 2009 through March 2010, there were nine vandalisms and seven unlicensed drivers.

School holidays might be a better predictor of crime than park closures. "For the vandalisms, they were victims reporting slashed tires," said police spokesperson Nicole Acker. "There was no suspect information provided, so it would be a guess as to what happened. Most of them happened the week of Christmas, so it could have been juveniles on break."

San Mateo County may shut down Flood Park if Menlo Park doesn't agree to take over management. Running the park costs the county $205,000 per year, money that the county can no longer afford in light of the need to cut 10 percent from its general fund operating budget.

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Posted by Tim Burks
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Many of us have expressed concern that crime may rise if Flood Park is closed. This article seems to suggest that our fears have been unfounded - of course there hasn't been a spike in crime - the park has been occupied by construction crews working on the pipeline project! Maybe the SFPUC will offer to patrol the park for us after the pipeline is done...

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Posted by Concerned Reader
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:22 am

It's nice to see The Almanac follow up on issues of concern to the community, and to know that so far Flood Park hasn't become a blight to a lovely family-oriented neighborhood. But please remember that the park hasn't been closed long enough to become abandoned. There are signs along the road to show the neighborhood's interest and attention. There's work going on and construction materials in sight that signal supervision and occupation. Let's hope we don't have to put it to the test and find out what use that land ends up providing after it's been overgrown and deserted for a year or two.

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Posted by Suburban Park Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

This article fails to take into account the fact that the park is currently full of workers and equipment each day as the pipeline project is finished. Once the workers leave, the shuttered park will truly be empty and abandoned. Neighbors fear an increase in crime once the park is truly locked up and empty of pipeline workers, rangers and park guests. Current crime rates do not reflect the potential for trouble once the park is truly empty.

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Posted by Matt
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I think all of the comments posted so far hit the nail on the head as to why the statistics in this article are misleading.

My comment is on the cost of maintaining the park. The $205,000 is what it previously cost to maintain the park. However, has anyone tried to ask for volunteers to help maintain the park until the funding situation improves? The neighborhoods surrounding Flood Park have a strong sense of community. I believe that there would be more than enough volunteers by neighbors to significantly lower the cost of operating the park. I think that if a little more effort were put into thinking of creative ways to help keep the park open, such as organizing social events such as "Movie in the Park" night, that the park could be profitable. Closing the park is an uncreative, and for me unacceptable, solution to a very solvable problem.

Like this comment
Posted by Truthiness
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

No crime yet? Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything- forfty percent of all people know that. What's more important is what you FEEL should be true. There are probably drug dealers heading there right now. You can spot them by their baggy pants and sassy attitudes.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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