Cameras at Campos Plaza Can’t Come Soon Enough for Residents

DSC08936Suzanne Rozdeba Attendees at last night’s meeting regarding the new cameras.

Residents of Campos Plaza expressed optimism last night that new high-tech security cameras would deter the violence that they said has left many of them living in fear.

“I am scared for a lot of our lives here in this development. I am scared for our kids, for ourselves, for our elderly, for us all,” said Dereese Huff, president of the Campos Plaza tenants association. “We need these cameras.”

The surveillance equipment, financed by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, will be installed in pathways, playgrounds and lobbies around the houses bordered by East 13th and 14th Streets and Avenues B and C. Public officials hope to have 16 cameras for each of the four building at Campos Plaza. Ms. Mendez has secured $400,000 for the cameras, which is roughly half of the total needed to cover the entire complex. The cameras would monitor both inside and outside the buildings and will be connected to a network than can be observed from a central location.

An official with the New York City Housing Authority sought to dispel any notions of a “Big Brother”-style system.

“We don’t have enough manpower, even if we wanted to, to watch all the buildings of N.Y.C.H.A.,” said Sharon Berger, the deputy director of capital projects for the Housing Authority.

DSC08909Suzanne Rozdeba Councilwoman Rosie Mendez (right) led the meeting.

None of the roughly 40 residents at last night’s meeting at the Campos Plaza Community Center expressed opposition to the cameras. Some even said they had been pressing for them for 10 years.

Officials estimated that the cameras would be installed by the end of September — a delay that baffled some residents.

“How is that not a priority, when our kids are getting killed out there?” one attendee at the meeting said.

Ms. Huff in particular had reason to urge the panoply of public officials involved to quickly install the conspicuous cameras, which act as a crime deterrent as much as a crime-solving tool. “The last killing here is very personal to me. It was my best friend’s son,” she said, referring to 17-year-old Donovan “Keith” Salgado, who was killed in October. Since then, a 19-year-old shot in the leg and chatter about the Money Boys gang have raised concerns about crime in Campos Plaza.