2010-11-05 / Letters

Argus Cameras Finally!

Dear Editor,

It took almost two years but it looks like we are finally going to be getting the NYPD Argus security cameras that our neighborhood desperately needs. It was presented at the 100 Precinct Community Council meeting that the funding for these cameras has been secured and they should be installed shortly. Living in the area hearing gun shots had become an everyday way of life. Being a retired member of the Police Department I understand that the police cannot be everywhere and the need for innovative ways of combating crime and improving the quality of life was needed in our area. They were installing these cameras in other areas of the city, why not here in Rockaway.

I mentioned the need for these cameras to the Commanding Officer of the 100 Precinct at the local Precinct Community Council meetings in the middle of 2008. Nobody, with the exception of the members of the Police Department, even knew what Argus cameras were. After educating residents and others on these cameras, I continued to request the installation of these cameras at the council meetings and at community board meetings due to the continued violence. I also mentioned it during a City Council debate in early 2009, as part of a crime reduction plan.

After the repeated requests for cameras appeared to be falling on deaf ears, I decided to gather the support of the president of the Precinct Council, Danny Ruscillo, local elected officials, police officials, local merchants, and civic leaders to make sure they were all aware of the need for these cameras in our neighborhood and to see if they would help support the installation of these cameras.

Until recent police sweeps, gang activity and gun violence had been taking over many areas of our community. The need for cameras was unquestionable. Many areas, including the vicinity of the Hammel Housing Development, had become a hot bed for narcotics, gang activity and violent crime. Many of the residents of Hammel Houses, Dayton and local homeowners did not feel comfortable shopping at our local stores. This created a lack of economic development in the area and many current retailers are struggling to attract new customers because of the violent crime.

Installing these cameras will help the Police Department to further reduce crime and improve the quality of life of our residents. Not only will these cameras reduce crime, they will also act as a deterrent for violent crime. These cameras will also help identify suspects who commit crimes, and assist in their prosecution once they are apprehended. 

These cameras will be a great addition in helping make our community safe and is a testament of what a community can do when everyone works together towards a common goal. I would like to thank State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer for funding them; City Councilman Eric Ulrich; Commanding Officer of the 100 Precinct, Deputy Inspector Thomas Barrett; 100 Precinct Council President Danny Ruscillo; Community Board Manager Jonathan Gaska; president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Organization, past President of Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents, Fran Stathis. All of these people played an important role in putting on pressure to make these cameras a reality. It goes to show what we can accomplish as a community when we all work together.

GLENN DIRESTO

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