2009-12-18 / Letters

The Need For Cameras

Dear Editor,

How many more people must get shot or killed before we can get NYPD Argus cameras here in the Rock - aways. Gang activity and gun violence has been taking over many areas of our community and it has to stop. Many areas including the vicinity of the Hammel Housing Develop - ment have become a hot bed for narcotic, gang activity, violent crime and shootings. The residents of Hammels, Dayton Apartment Buildings and local homeowners are being held hos - tage in their own homes because of it. There is a lack of economic development in the area and current retailers are struggling to attract new customers because of the violent crime and not because of economic conditions.

Recently a friend of mine was walking with her three young children at the Dayton Plaza Shopping Center, when gunfire erupted and a young man was shot two times in the chest for his bike. This is a reminder that the violence that has been plaguing our neighborhood is not going away. My friend or any one of her three young children could have been the victim. How long do we have to wait before another person is shot?? or before another innocent bystander is killed??? In April of this year, Mellissa Williams became an innocent bystan - d er when she was struck in the head and killed by a stray bullet, when visiting the Hammels Houses. That is just one of the many shooting incidents that have taken place in our neighborhood and it must be stopped now.

With the instillation of NYPD Argus cameras around the area of the Ham - mels Development along Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 84 Street to Beach 90 Street, it will great ly reduce the violence in our neighborhood and assist the Police Department in further reducing crime and improving the quality of life of our residents. Not only are these cameras a deterrent to violent crime, these cameras will also help identify suspects who commit crimes, and assist in their prosecution once they are apprehended. These styles of cameras have been placed throughout Manhattan for counter-terrorism purposes. They have also been installed throughout the rest of the city including South Richmond Hill, Jamaica and Bushwick for combating conventional crime. Why don't we have them here?

The men and women of the 100 Precinct have done a wonderful job in fighting crime in the area, however with the limited resources and staff - ing levels continually shrinking due to budget cuts, we need to look at tech nology and alternative ways of com bating violent crime and these ARGUS cameras would be a great first step.

GLENN DIRESTO

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