Mendez: Security Cameras Coming to Campos Plaza

Campos Plaza housing complex on East 12th Street.

Yesterday we were at the Campos Plaza Housing public housing complex, where elected officials announced the creation of an after-school recreational program.  Community activists, who have repeatedly called for more programs aimed at keeping kids off the streets, were clearly pleased.

During a news conference, they also praised the police department for stepping up patrols in the aftermath of the murder of teenager Keith Salgado in the housing project’s courtyard back in October.  “It’s sad to say it took a murder, but I’m glad there’s better security,” said Dereese Huff, Campos Plaza’s tenant association president.

For many years, residents have urged the New York City Housing Authority to install security cameras at Campos.  In this year’s city budget, Councilmember Rosie Mendez allocated $400,000 for cameras at the development. Huff has said she’s convinced the cameras would be a strong deterrent to crime and drug dealing — and she’s expressed frustration that it’s taking so long to complete the project.

Yesterday Mendez said the cameras would be “a reality in the near future.”   All together, Council members have allocated $27 million for cameras in public housing. In the summer of 2010, however, NYCHA, put the program on hold, while it developed a new high-tech system. The “layered access control system” uses a network of cameras linked by fiber optic cables, intercoms and keyed entries. Mendez said NYCHA would soon issue a “request for proposals,” at which time firms will be able to bid on the project.

In the past, Mendez has noted that some residents oppose security cameras, arguing that they are misued used by the NYPD to “track” innocent tenants and to harass them for no reason. Witnesses have said Salgado was among a large group of young people hanging out in the courtyard late at night when the shooting happened. Police arrested 24-year old Hockeem Smith in connection with the murder on Oct. 28.