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Queens Chronicle

137 cameras to Woodside Houses

Senior center members applaud $1 million surveillance project

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:30 am

Smile, you’re on camera.

During the next few months, 137 cameras will be installed in the lobbies, entrances and basements of all 20 buildings at Woodside Houses at Broadway and 49th Street.

“Cameras are always needed,” said Frank Martinez, president of the houses’ senior center. “It’s a deterrent.”

“I’ve never had one incident,” said Martinez, who has lived in the public housing complex for more than two decades, adding he has heard of some crimes although “it’s mainly from outside people coming in.”

“The worse thing I see is pot smoking, but the worse they do is get the munchies,” he said jokingly.

And although the Woodside Houses have not faced the level of crime that some other areas have, the senior center still called on the New York City Housing Authority to install the cameras, which started going in on April 2 and should be completed by July 31. The Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City during the last 12 months has had two reported non-fatal shooting incidents and one murder.

“It’s fair to say crimes are lower at the Woodside Houses,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “But one crime is one too many. It affects the victims’ sense of safety.”

The $1 million project was funded by the City Council with Van Bramer’s urging.

A couple years ago, Van Bramer funded a gym at the senior center, which has yet to be constructed.

“It hasn’t moved,” Van Bramer said. “It looks like there may be movement now, but it’s incredibly frustrating.”

A deficiency of NYCHA engineers and designers to tackle the “incredible backlog” of projects has stalled plans for public housing complexes citywide, according to Van Bramer.

Other projects that are funded but waiting in line are lighting at the Ravenswood Houses and a bathroom in the senior center at Queensbridge Houses and security cameras.

“No matter which development they live in, people deserve this,” said Karen Dennis, president of the community council for Police Service Area 9, which patrols public housing complexes. “It improves quality of life.”

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