2012-08-03 / Top Stories

Sanders Criticizes NYCHA For Not Installing Cameras

By Miriam Rosenberg

Councilman James Sanders Jr. Councilman James Sanders Jr. Nearly 3 1/2 years after NYCHA was presented with a $2 million check for the agency to purchase the latest technology in cameras for Redfern Houses, the housing development is still waiting for those cameras to be put in.

Over the past eight years NYCHA has received more than $42 million from New York City council members to install cameras in city housing developments. According to a Daily News report earlier this month, instead of spending the money on what was intended, the agency has frozen the funds to “develop a full-time, coordinated monitoring system for its 334 projects.”

In March 2009, – at a press conference at the Redfern Community Center – allocated the money for ‘gunshot technology’ to be put in Redfern. The residents are still waiting for NYCHA to come through with the system.

“It’s so sophisticated that if you fire a gun, the cameras will come on and take a picture of you in two seconds,” said Sanders in March 2009. He added, “There will be a camera system, in the sense of your typical cameras watching, but in some of the hot spots and some of the more troubled areas we will have gunshot technology,” said Sanders.

So far all that is installed at Redfern is what Sanders termed, “old technology.” “They played games with me for years,” Sanders told The Wave this week. NYCHA finally admitted to the councilman, after he forced the issue about 2 1/2 years ago, that they had not even tested the system. Though the agency told him it was getting ready to do a test, they already had a district picked and refused to do it in his district.

“I said do it in another district [as well],” said Sanders. “You’ve got the money.”

The councilman accuses both NYCHA and the brass at 1 Police Plaza of being unable to think outside the box.

“You have to give this money through a city agency,” said Sanders. “So who do you give it to? The police? They are not creative. I tried to give them vans for the local precinct. I can’t. It’s 1 Police Plaza. I said, you tell me what the process is.”

“So our money sits,” said Sanders.”

Just days after the Daily News investigation was published, NYCHA Chairman John Rhea said the agency would begin installing cameras in 80 of the city’s most crime affected housing developments in the fall.

According to the NYCHA website, approximately 85 developments will receive security camera installations by the end of 2013.

On the list of sites scheduled for camera installation are sites for which that Sanders allocated money including Beach 41st Street Houses, Carlton Manor, Hammel Houses, Ocean Bay Apartments and Redfern Houses.

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