By Joe Anuta
Several intersections in the downtown Flushing area will soon be equipped with additional NYPD police cameras, though long-promised cameras at the site of two recent murders in a nearby housing project are still not operational.
The five new cameras will be installed at several intersections that experience the most violent crime, although data was also analyzed to place some of the cameras in locations where misdemeanors and felonies are committed, according to City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), who paid for the cameras out of his discretionary funding.
“One of my top priorities is to help ensure the highest level of public safety for residents. Therefore, I allocated resources to purchase the latest technology and surveillance equipment to assist the NYPD in protecting our community,” he said. “I hope that these cameras will deter those who want to commit crimes and help capture those who victimize innocent people.”
The Argus cameras, named after an all-seeing beast in Greek mythology, will join others in the neighborhood and will also add to the NYPD network of roughly 650 electronic eyes citywide.
The cameras will be installed at Roosevelt Avenue and College Point Boulevard, College Point Boulevard and 37th Avenue, 133-43 37th Ave., 41st Avenue and Parsons Boulevard and Northern Boulevard and Union Street, according to Koo, whose office hopes the work will be complete by next spring.
But Koo has allocated $1.2 million over three fiscal years for cameras elsewhere in the neighborhood that the city is only now getting around to installing.
Beginning in 2009, the councilman set aside money for security cameras in the Bland Houses and Latimer Gardens, both in Flushing.
During a November 2011 meeting, held after a 21-year-old man was shot and killed at the Bland Houses, residents expressed frustration that the cameras had not yet been installed.
At the time, a New York City Housing Authority representative said the devices would be ready by spring 2012.
But by August of last year the cameras were still not installed when a 45-year-old man was shot in the back and killed in a Bland House courtyard.
After that murder, NYCHA told TimesLedger Newspapers that while sufficient funds for cameras had been allocated, the department did not have enough money for the comprehensive security system it wanted to install, and the authority subsequently decided to just install the cameras instead.
“Construction is currently underway at both Bland Houses and Latimer Gardens, and they are both scheduled for completion later this year,” NYCHA said in a statement.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.