2010-05-21 / Top Stories

Schumer: Increase New York's Anti-Terror Funding

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer revealed that New York City’s share of the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) went from 25 percent of the total funding pot in 2005 to 18 percent in 2010.

The failed attempt last weekend to detonate a bomb in Times Square was a disturbing reminder that, nearly a decade after the attacks of September 11, 2001, New York City remains the single greatest target for terrorist attacks in the United States.

Despite this fact, New York’s share of funding from UASI has decreased by more than $56 million in the last five years. In 2010, of a total funding allocation of $832 million, New York is slated to receive only $151 million, representing just 18 percent of the total funding stream. Schumer is calling on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to increase funding to New York City from the UASI program by at least $57 million, bringing the City’s funding level to a minimum of 25 percent of the total pot, if not more.

“The bottom line is, New York City continues to be the number one target for terrorism in the United States and federal anti-terror funding needs to reflect that reality,” said Schumer. “I am calling on the Department of Homeland Security to increase New York’s funding share from the Urban Area Security Initiative to at least 25 percent of the total funding pot, if not more.”

UASI funding is a critical component of the City’s investment in anti-terror measures, but funding levels have failed to reflect the level of risk faced by New York City. Since 2005, New York City funding levels under UASI have decreased by 28 percent.

In his letter to Secretary Napolitano, Schumer called on the Department of Homeland Security to increase New York City’s share to at least 25 percent of the available funding stream and bring it, at a minimum, in line with 2005 funding levels.

With this funding, the Lower Manhattan and Midtown Security Initiative will receive the resourcesto expand the downtown surveillance system to midtown Manhattan between 34 and 59 Streets.

The Lower Manhattan and Midtown Security Initiative is a program to increase surveillance efforts in lower Manhattan and the midtown section of New York City.

The New York City Police Department has put plans into motion to install over 3,000 security cameras in lower and midtown Manhattan, as well as 100 license plate-reading devices which are intended to scan plates and compare the numbers with information in a database. Additionally, the activities the cameras are programmed to pick up on include the delivery of packages, unattended bags left for extended periods of time, and suspicious cars repeatedly circling the same block.

Other features of the system include mobile roadblocks and radiation detectors. According to the NYPD, the footage from the cameras would be monitored from a center staffed by police officers and highly trained security employees.

The City estimates that a 25 percent share of the total FY2010 UASI funding, an increase of $57 million more than what has been listed under the DHS targeted allocation for New York City in 2010.

This will allow them to quickly complete the camera network and expand it around the highly trafficked Times Square and midtown business and recreational areas.

Last week, Schumer called on the Obama administration to fully fund the “Securing the Cities” program, which was zeroed out for FY2011. Schumer was successful in delivering $18.5 million from the program for New York City’s radiological testing program.

Schumer says that the administration has once again zeroed-out the program. He is working feverishly to fund the program to the tune of $30 million.

“Terrorism is a national problem and New York is the primary target. New Yorkers cannot shoulder this burden alone,” Schumer said.

It’s imperative the Department of Homeland Security provide appropriate levels of funding so that the NYPD can do everything possible to make New York safe and secure.”

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