The cameras line the streets immediately adjacent to the Gateway National Recreational Area portion of Spring Creek Park. Vetrano, who went for a run from her 84th Street home toward the park on the afternoon of Aug. 2 and never returned, was found raped and fatally strangled hours later among the park’s tall weeds in the vicinity of 161st Avenue and 78th Street.
During a community meeting at St. Helen’s Church days after the homicide, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced that the cameras would be installed. The NYPD reviewed the area and determined the best locations to place the cameras, which will capture footage of activity near the parkland.
“Part of the problem is clearly that it’s federal property inside, but there is street property outside and city property outside, so at my request, the Police Department went out there on [Aug. 5] and surveyed … and at the request of your elected officials I’ve allocated the funding for all of the cameras,” Katz said at the meeting. “So the money is there. Money is in the budget for it. I wish it had been there previously, but it’s there now.”
In a message on its Facebook page, the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association expressed gratitude to Katz and the NYPD for installing the cameras: “For those residents who took the time to post, attend the community meeting and request NYPD cameras on poles outside Spring Creek Park, your request did not fall upon deaf ears.”
The cameras aim to enhance security in a neighborhood still reeling from the shocking murder and wondering when the killer will be caught. Nearly a month after Vetrano was killed, the suspect(s) responsible remain at large. Although members of Vetrano’s family hinted a week ago that police may have a suspect in mind, no arrests have been made in the case.
Through an online campaign, Howard Beach residents raised more than $200,000 in reward money for the tipster who helps police track down and arrest Vetrano’s murderer. That reward will supplement a $35,000 reward being offered by the city; the Mayor’s office added $10,000 to the reward on Tuesday on top of funds provided by the Crime Stoppers hotline, the NYPD, the Police Foundation and the Uniformed Firefighters Association.
Anyone with information regarding the Vetrano homicide that can prove helpful is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.