Council member wants $520M security upgrade for NYCHA

Torres seeks rollout of cameras and intercoms to curb rise in crime

Ritchie Torres and 370 Blake Avenue
Ritchie Torres and 370 Blake Avenue

Ritchie Torres, a City Council member in the Bronx and chair of the Public Housing Committee, is set to unveil a $520 million plan today that would provide security systems and cameras for all 334 New York City Housing Authority buildings.

Roughly 85 of the developments have security systems that are fully installed, many of which were set up last year long after the Council had signed off on funding. Criminal activity at NYCHA buildings soared 31 percent over the past five years, the New York Daily News reported.

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Torres is expected to discuss the proposal today at a hearing also held by the city’s public safety and juvenile justice committees. His plan would allow for “layered access” intercom systems in all buildings, as well as other features. Pending cases involving public housing tenants who face termination over alleged criminal behavior has risen 1,431 last year from 625 in 2009, according to the Daily News.

“Why not have a citywide approach to funding public safety measures in public housing?” Torres told the Daily News. “For me it’s a no-brainer. The simplest way to reduce crime is to improve CCTV (cameras) and layered access in every single development.”

Earlier this month, Torres and Public Advocate Letitia James asked the Police Department to post more cops on duty and install better street lighting at the developments, as previously reported. [NYDN]Mark Maurer