City begins installation of overdue security cameras in public housing

security cameras nycha boulevard houses, pj avitto
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer today joined public housing residents in East New York to announce the start of a security camera installations at Boulevard Houses in East New York, Brooklyn.
Credit: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor’s Office

After years of what officials call bureaucratic delays by both the current and previous administrations, six public housing developments will soon get the security cameras — including the building where a child was stabbed to death on June 1.

The New York City Housing Authority also said Wednesday it would install cameras at 49 different location using $27 million in City Council money that had already been earmarked for security systems by the end of 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio again admitted that city failed to make the cameras instillation a priority both in his first six months and through the course of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure.

“The previous administration dropped the ball in a very big way,” de Blasio said. “My administration should have done better in our first months as well, and the minute it became clear that these were not moving we have the sharpest possible orders which have led to this progress.”

That progress meant that dozens of stalled contracts for cameras already submitted for review were approved within a week, de Blasio explained, adding that the money should have moved the year it was approved.

The City Council originally directed $500,000 towards cameras at the 18-building housing project in 2013. NYCHA officials said 17 cameras would be placed around the complex by October, possibly sooner.

Earlier, de Blasio toured the Boulevard Houses in East New York on Wednesday as workers began to install equipment at 845 Schenck Ave., where 6-year-old Prince Joshua “P.J.” Avitto was fatally stabbed and Mikayla Capers, 7, was critically wounded.

Capers was released from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on Wednesday after 10 days of recovery for abdominal bleeding and a lacerated spleen.

Avitto’s aunt Shavonne Baker, 46, moved to Ohio but said her family was and still is close to Capers’, and that families in the neighborhood stick together — even in the face of tragedy.

“It’s sad that my nephew had to die, but I’m glad he didn’t die in vain,” she said, praising the news of new security measures. “That it’ll help his friends, the elderly — the community period.”

Earlier in the day, the man suspected of killing Avitto appeared in a Brooklyn courthouse.

Daniel St. Hubert was charged with the stabbing inside the elevator at Boulevard Houses and is still under investigation for the stabbing death of an 18-year-old woman blocks away and attack of a homeless man at a Manhattan subway platform.

If convicted for the attack on Avitto and Capers, St. Hubert faces up to 50 years to life in prison.

Scheduled Installations at Public Houses

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria


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