Crimes in Central Park have skyrocketed 45% over last year, and Manhattan officials are blaming the poor economy. Rapes jumped from zero to 7 so far this year, and grand larceny is up 60% to 56 cases. "A bad economy doesn’t help. Many more people are using the park. Many are lulled into a false sense of security,” said Geoffrey Croft, head of a park watchdog organization.
Experts advise locals and tourists to stay in populated areas and avoid wooded shortcuts, not to make eye contact with passersby, and to stay alert and avoid talking on cell phones or wearing earphones while walking alone.