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Mayor, Manhattan DA secures $101 million for NYCHA improvements

Polo Grounds is one of the NYCHA developments

Polo Grounds is one of the NYCHA developments that will see increased funding for safety improvements. Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Wally G

The mayor and Manhattan DA announced a $101 million plan Tuesday that would improve safety in the city's public housing system.

The investment will ensure that NYCHA buildings have quality lighting, functional security cameras and improved doors and locks. The announcement came weeks after police officer Peter Liang shot Akai Gurley in a dark stairwell while he was patrolling the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York.

"By strategically investing in these communities, we will not only establish the security infrastructure to enhance residential safety, but also build upon our commitment to fairness in the criminal justice system, and the belief that a crime prevented is better than a crime prosecuted," DA Cy Vance said in a statement.

The funding will go toward 15 developments throughout the five boroughs, which collectively see 20% of violent crime in public housing citywide, according to the DA's office, including Red Hook, Queensbridge, Castle Hill, Polo Grounds, Tompkins, Bushwick, Wagner, Van Dyke II, Ingersoll, Patterson, St. Nicholas, Brownsville, Butler, Boulevard, and Stapleton. Roughly $89 million will be spent on infrastructure improvements such as more exterior cameras, better exterior lighting throughout the designated buildings and layered, or keyfob, access to doors.

About $12 million will go toward public safety analysis and programming such as an "analysis of the impact of community centers in improving public safety" and an evaluation of safer infrastructure design.

"The physical environment can encourage or inhibit crime, as well as motivate the positive use of public space," Elizabeth Glazer, the director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, said in a statement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the plan, which is partially funded from money forfeited by French bank BNP Paribas for violating U.S. sanctions, complements his administration's efforts to improve quality of life in public housing projects.

De Blasio's "Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety" pledged $210.5 million toward fighting crime in those same 15 NYCHA properties.

"This administration has made building stronger neighborhoods and improving safety in and around housing developments a priority," he said in a statement.


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