Cameras Coming to Ocean Bay, Beach 41st Street Houses
In August of 2011, Brian Jones, 34, was shot at Ocean Bay Houses. If there were cameras at the complex, his mother said, perhaps the shooter would have been caught. Now, almost two years later, money has been allocated to install cameras at the NYCHA housing complex.
On July 8th Councilman Donovan Richards announced he had allocated nearly $2 million for upgrades in local NYCHA housing. Included is $900,000 for closed-circuit security cameras in Ocean Bay Houses and $500,000 for cameras in the Beach 41st Street Houses.
“Today I am announcing the allocation of (these funds) to these two developments ... to ensure that no mother has to endure losing her child again,” said Richards, as he stood in front of Ocean Bay Houses. He added, “For too long our children and seniors have been held captive in their apartments because of on-going feuds between rival factions of Ocean Bay Houses and Beach 41st Street Houses.”
Geraldine Jones says an arrest has not been made in her son’s shooting, but if there had been cameras then “we would know who the person is.”
“My son was shot in front of where I live,” said Jones, the president of the Ocean Bay Houses Tenants Association. “He was trying to rescue a young boy from the line of fire. It was a shootout between guys from the 40’s. Once we have cameras it will be a big relief to the community.”
The funding follows the effort started by Richards’ predecessor, State Senator James Sanders Jr., who as a city councilman in 2008, announced monies for cameras for Redfern Houses. In 2009 he allocated funds for cameras for Hammel Houses, where installation is scheduled to be completed in October, and for Carlton Manor.
“I trust that NYCHA will not move slowly on this as they moved in putting in my cameras,” said Sanders, who joined Richards and residents for the announcement.
In 2012 the Daily News reported that NYCHA Chairman John Rhea froze $42 million received from city councilmembers over an eight year period to install cameras in their districts. The money was held back, the agency said, so that it could develop an upgraded security system. But Sanders says the technology is already there. When he first gave the $2 million for Redfern Houses cameras it was for a system known as ‘gun-shot technology.’
The Senator explained that within seconds of a gun being fired the camera can take a picture of the shooter, send the photo back to the precinct and then have that photo sent on to officers in squad cars.
“Within minutes an arrest could occur,” said Sanders.
While Richards and Sanders agree that the cameras will not solve everything, they do believe they will be a deterrent. As an example, the councilman pointed to the cameras that were installed in Redfern.
“I can’t remember the last time we had a shooting [there],” said Richards.
There is no timetable yet for the installation of the cameras but Richards said, “I am going to be ferociously fighting NYCHA to make sure these things get put up ASAP. I’ve already put in a call to meet with the chairman because I want this to move fast.”
Included in the $2 million funding are monies for community room upgrades at Carlton Manor. According to the NYCHA website, Ocean Bay Houses has a population of 4,459 and Beach 41st Street Houses has 1,658 residents.