2008-07-18 / Top Stories

Sanders: $2 M For Redfern Cameras

Installation Set For 2009
By Miriam Rosenberg

After waiting for years, and living through numerous shootings and homicides, residents at the sprawling Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway learned earlier this week that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has secured funding for long-awaited surveillance cameras for their apartment complex.

Councilman James Sanders Jr. announced on Monday that he has allocated $2 million for the installation of cameras throughout the housing development.

Sanders told The Wave he is consulting with NYCHA to get state-ofthe art technology, called gunshot technology, at Redfern Houses.

"The second anyone fires a gun the camera takes a picture," said Sanders, who added that the money was in NYCHA's account as of July 1.

Sheila Green, a spokesperson for NYCHA, did not confirm the funds were readily available but said that, "the money is coming."

"We anticipate starting the program the beginning of next year," said Green about installing the cameras. "There's a process for the money to be placed into the budget."

Sanders spoke about the delay between the announcement and the installation.

"The sad thing is the city doesn't move fast," said the councilman. "There are reasons why they go at a certain pace. My job is to push as hard and as fast as I can before another youth is slain."

Residents at the housing complex, which experiences gun violence constantly, have been asking for cameras to be installed for several years. The most recent fatal shooting was that of 15-year-old Brandon Bethea who was killed while attending a party at Redfern Houses on May 17.

As The Wave reported last year, State Senator Malcolm Smith had promised funds to purchase cameras for Redfern Houses, but the cameras never materialized.

At a press conference in May, after the death of Bethea, the president of the tenant's association, Doris Jacobs said, "The tenants in the Redfern Houses have been asking for cameras to be installed on the premises for some time. [These are the] same cameras we have been promised for years."

The Wave was unable to contact Jacobs for comment for this article.

Sanders said he is also talking with NYCHA about reviving tenant patrols at Redfern Houses, which were halted when a tenant leader was killed. He also said he was willing to take part in the patrols.

According to Sanders' office, among those joining him at the press conference on Monday were Jacobs; Bethea's parents; Denean Ferguson, the site coordinator for the Far Rockaway Weed & Seed; Ed Williams, the president of the Far Rockaway NAACP; and Caroline Jasper, representing NYCHA.

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