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Stanton Park Patrol Steps Up

Neighbors Say Park Is Site of Illicit Activity

National Park Service police officials say they are upping patrols of Stanton Park after receiving complaints from residents who claim to have seen sexual activities taking place there after dark.

Park Service officials say only a few incidents have been reported.

“We don’t expect it to keep happening, and we are going to take steps to make sure it doesn’t,” said Sgt. Scott Fear, U.S. Park Police spokesman.

The Park Service has jurisdiction over Stanton Park, a national park located where Massachusetts and Maryland avenues Northeast meet. Nearby residents say it serves an important community need by providing a place for families who live in the area.

“We have parks, but we don’t have a lot of parks that are for children,” said Valerie Jablow, who has lived in the area for 14 years and has two young children of her own. “To have, basically, this resource taken away from us is tremendous.”

Jablow said she and other residents have spent years fighting to make improvements at the park. Perhaps their biggest accomplishment was the installation of new playground equipment designed specifically for young children.

“We worked very, very hard to get that playground equipment in, and I resent that people are taking advantage of it for their sexual activities,” she said.

Replacing thick bushes that enclose the playground area with a wrought-iron fence would be a major step toward preventing such illicit activity, Jablow said.

It was something proposed when the playground was initially installed, she said.

“People were having sex in the playground after dark because the bushes provided beautiful cover,” Jablow said.

In the meantime, Fear said residents who spot such activity should contact the police as soon as possible, so officers can respond immediately.

“We ask our public to be our eyes and ears,” Fear said. “They live there, they are there around the clock.”