Cop SkyWatch towers: A bandaid over the real problem?
NYPD officers keep an eye on city streets from 25 feet up, but Brooklyn residents say two nearby SkyWatch observation towers impact more than crime.
Residents say the tower’s presence results in fewer foot patrols by local officers, which may reduce the number of confrontations between cops and citizens.
“Police brutality is real,” Peter, who did not wish to give his last name, said near a watchtower at Myrtle and Throop avenues, “but it’s the ones on foot that give us the trouble.”
NYPD spokeswoman Cheryl Crispin said that although “there is no way to measure” whether the towers work, “the community loves them.”
But some skeptics of SkyWatch towers believe they affect where — not whether — crime occurs. “This can’t stop crime,” an officer on watchtower duty said. “It just gets displaced.”
Added Fifi, who works at a bakery near one of the towers but did not want to give a last name, “They’re just sitting up there with tinted windows looking down on us. C’mon, you think I don’t see you too?”
Melissa Woods of FLIR Security Systems, which manufactures the towers, acknowledged the perception of the towers as intruders. “A lot of people feel like it’s Big Brother, but that was never our intent,” she says. “These were designed to protect people and prevent new problems.”