More than 80 public housing developments around New York City will be getting $41 million worth of high-tech cameras, intercoms and locks controlled by electronic key tags, reports DNAinfo.com.
The NYC Housing Authority has planned on upgrading security in these buildings for a long time, but the project took on a new sense of urgency after a 2010 survey revealed that 75 percent of public housing residents feared crime in their developments.
A pilot project will take place at the Mott Haven Houses in the South Bronx, and then installed in all five boroughs later this year, including the Amsterdam Houses in Manhattan, the Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn, the Woodside Houses in Queens and Mariner’s Harbor Houses on Staten Island. According to DNAinfo.com, NYCHA-approved contractors will handle the installations.
Residents at Mott Haven, where installation is already in progress, welcome the change as an overdue response to their concerns about unlocked front doors, strangers roaming the halls and shootings in broad daylight.
The Bronx housing project saw a 50 percent crime jump in 2009. The problems have continued through 2012, with four people shot in the first four months of the year, according to 40th Precinct commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack.
The NYCHA calls the system “layered access control,” and it will connect locks and cameras to each other and a central office. If a door is propped open for too long or a camera fails, the office is notified, DNAinfo.com reports.
Other equipment includes wireless intercoms and electronic key tags, which cannot be duplicated but can be disabled if lost or stolen. The key readers are stainless steel, bulletproof and fire resistant, from California-based manufacturer Keri Systems.
The readers track each entry transaction with a name, date and time. Some Mott Haven residents consider the logging an unnecessary intrusion, citing privacy concerns. Some also said that the 300 cameras to be installed throughout the eight buildings leave them feeling exposed and not much safer, as they are likely to be broken, and they would serve mostly to catch criminals after the crime, rather than preventing it in the first place, says DNAinfo.com.
NYCHA is currently creating a policy for how to manage the data log and addressing concerns.