NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City is launching a comprehensive crackdown on crime in city housing developments.
The de Blasio administration is spending $210 million on a citywide initiative to improve security at 15 troublesome New York City Housing Authority developments.
The money is going toward adding 150 light towers in common areas, removing scaffolding and sidewalk sheds — where criminals have been known to hide out — and fixing broken locks. The city will also assign more than 700 additional police officers to problem precincts and extend summer hours at 107 community centers at housing developments, giving children a safe place to go.
Shootings have gone up 31 percent so far this year in New York City public housing buildings. Meanwhile, overall crime has dropped slightly citywide.
“These 15 developments combined account for nearly 20 percent of all violent crime in all of public housing in New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Monica Miller and 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa, on Tuesday at the Wagner Houses in East Harlem, one of the developments included in the program.
The city has 334 Housing Authority developments.
The money was allocated in the budget agreement announced last month.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, the mayor believes that the plan will help cut crime across the city.
“Some of the focal point areas around the city where we have had a challenge with shootings has been in areas where we have high concentrations of public housing. There’s no question in my mind this is going to have a very big impact,” the mayor said.
Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres grew up in NYCHA housing and said that the crime trend is a result of years of neglect by the government.
“Many residents in public housing are living in a state of terror and I feel like these security improvements are going to bring them a sense of freedom and security that they didn’t have before,” Torres said.
To further cut gun violence the NYCHA plans to install gunshot detection equipment in crime ridden areas.
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