Reactions to Mayor de Blasio's Plan to Make New York City's Neighborhoods and Housing Developments Safer

July 8, 2014

NEW YORK—Today, the de Blasio administration announced a $210.5 million comprehensive, citywide plan to make our neighborhoods safer and reduce violent crime in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, through more targeted law enforcement efforts, immediate physical improvements, aggressive community engagement and outreach efforts, and the expansion of work and education programs. This long-term plan to reduce violent crime in our city’s neighborhoods and NYCHA developments will harness the resources of 10 city agencies, community groups, non-profits and public housing residents in a coordinated effort to reduce crime and build stronger families and communities.

Below are some of the immediate reactions to Mayor de Blasio’s announcement.

“I have long been involved in delivering federal dollars to pay for NYCHA security initiatives, including cameras, and I will work side-by-side with Mayor de Blasio now to secure any and all available resources to make life safer for the countless families and seniors in NYCHA housing,” said Senator Charles Schumer.

“I have been meeting with NYCHA residents for the last month, and they are very concerned about crime in their communities. Thankfully, Mayor de Blasio is rolling out a new plan to identify, reduce and prevent crimes in NYCHA. With a dedicated domestic violence outreach and civilian teams that will make follow up visits, we can successfully reduce incidents in NYCHA. We must look at the infrastructure of public housing and where crimes actually occur. By fixing building doors, changing keys and increasing lighting around complexes we can change the conditions on the ground. We can also build strong neighborhoods, if we expand youth employment opportunities and increase hours at community centers. I believe that working collaboratively—as residents, as non-profits, as police and as elected officials—we can prevent crime in our NYCHA developments,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

"This is a good day for New Yorkers who live in NYCHA housing. NYCHA housing is the cornerstone of our affordable housing program in New York City, and all families deserve to live in a safe and nurturing environment. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton, and Director Glazer for creating a plan that is comprehensive, will engage at the community level, and is far-sighted,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.  

“In response to the recent spike in violent crime at our public housing developments, Mayor de Blasio’s approach is a solid and comprehensive commitment to combating crime. By investing in both increased security at NYCHA facilities and in programs that take our kids off of the street while school is out, we are sending a message that crime will not be tolerated in our communities, on our streets, and in our homes. I commend Mayor de Blasio and our City Council for taking this critical step in protecting our children,” said State Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein.

“I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration, the NYPD, NYCHA, the other City agencies involved and the partnering community groups for developing and implementing these much-needed law enforcement measures and safety improvements. By working together, we will establish a safer environment in and around the Stapleton development on Staten Island,” said Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr.

“I commend Mayor de Blasio for taking such an innovative and broad-based approach to reducing violent crime in our neighborhoods. In Queens, we have long been committed to working with our county’s diverse communities and their residents in reducing crime. I am certain that the Mayor’s newest initiative will add to our efforts and will help to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers and will make New York an even safer city,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“Public safety isn’t a privilege, it’s a basic human right, and families who live in public housing deserve the same sense of security, peace and opportunity as those who do not. Partnerships are the foundation of safe communities, and summer offers a special opportunity for youth engagement. I look forward to working with our partners in the Mayor’s Office, NYPD, local stakeholders, and community advocates to implement these important initiatives,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

“This year, there have been 10 murders and 48 shootings in Brooklyn’s housing developments, accounting for more than 20 percent of the murders and shootings in the borough. Targeted policing that zeroes in on the known, violent predators—such as what we are employing with my new Crime Strategies Unit—-along with the security enhancements Mayor de Blasio has announced, will go a long way to protect law-abiding residents who shouldn’t have to endure gunfire outside their windows,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.

“By involving not just the NYPD, but nine other City agencies and most importantly, community residents themselves, this comprehensive, targeted plan to fighting crime and strengthening communities in the highest-risk NYCHA developments holds great promise as a long-term solution to reducing violence across NYCHA and the City at large,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

“I thank Mayor de Blasio and his administration for their commitment to crime reduction in NYCHA’s more dangerous developments. A comprehensive approach, including targeted police deployment, increased lighting and improvements to physical security infrastructure, as well as better outreach to tackle domestic violence and youth engagement issues, will go a long way from Boulevard Houses to Bushwick Houses,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“I wholeheartedly welcome and applaud Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious plans to make our communities a safer place to live and work. His initiative to reduce crime on our streets is a prudent addition to his comprehensive plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable housing over the coming decade in our Great City, and I am committed to providing the Mayor my full support in Congress,” said Congressman Charles Rangel

“It is my hope these investments will make NYCHA developments safer for working families who are raising their children in these communities. By working together, we help keep our neighborhoods crime free,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.

“I commend the Mayor for this important initiative, which will help make families and children in the Bronx safer,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “By engaging with residents of public housing and the surrounding neighborhoods to identify problems, I believe that resources can be better targeted, and we can effectively reduce violent crime in the Bronx. Three of the developments chosen for this initiative are in my district, and I look forward to making them safer for all residents.”

“I’m glad to see the mayor is taking concrete steps toward improving the quality of life in our public housing communities,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “For far too long, the problems that arise in NYCHA developments have not been given their due attention. This new initiative will not just reduce crime and make our city safer, but it will also foster a safer, more supportive and more welcoming environment in our public housing communities.”

No one has a greater interest in a community than the people who live there. Reducing crime is a community effort, and this innovative new program will engage residents living in and around public housing by empowering them to be a meaningful part of the solution. This initiative will also enhance security measures, increase social services for residents, and create new economic opportunities for teens and young adults living in these communities. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for taking a holistic approach to combatting crime,” said Congressman Eliot Engel.

“Residents of public housing and the surrounding communities deserve safety and security. We cannot afford to continue to permit our young, our elders, and our families to be victims of violent crime. That’s why I welcome Mayor de Blasio’s efforts, through the Neighborhood Anti-Violence Initiative: Making NYCHA Safer, to address violent crime directed at New York City’s Housing Authority residents. The people of the 5th District, especially those living in and around NYCHA developments, must not live in fear of murder, domestic violence, or theft. I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s initiative and support his efforts to use data-driven, common sense, community-focused policing to eradicate violent crime in the 5th District and New York City,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks.

“I am alarmed at the recent increase in violence in our public housing, home to more than four hundred thousand people in New York City. I commend Mayor de Blasio for developing the Neighborhood Anti-Violence Initiative to increase collaboration among law enforcement, community organizations, and the residents of public housing. Congress now has a responsibility to contribute to this effort, by enacting laws that prevent the shipment of illegal guns that threaten the safety of our families and children,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his focus on fighting violent crimes in New York City, especially in public housing and the surrounding neighborhoods. Through an innovative use of crime data and efforts to coordinate between City agencies and local residents, this initiative will prioritize the City’s resources and will take major steps towards cutting the rate of crime in the neighborhoods that need it most,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.

“The Making NYCHA Safer Initiative is a welcome development for the hardworking public housing residents who often encounter a highly violent environment. The effort to identify root causes of community violence in order to break the vicious cycle is a critical step in the march toward a permanent solution,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

“For too long, NYCHA residents have lived in fear of crime, because the City failed to allocate enough resources to keep our public housing communities safe. I commend Mayor de Blasio for not only focusing the efforts of our City's law enforcement on this problem, but for taking a comprehensive approach that will combine greater law enforcement with community engagement and working together with NYCHA residents to address the causes of violent crime, not just the symptoms. I look forward to working with the residents of Queensbridge, Astoria and Ravenswood Houses to implement this plan in western Queens,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.

“I want to thank the Mayor for his efforts in combating violent crime in NYCHA. The residents who live in public housing should not live in fear, and this program will begin to address that,” said State Senator Diane Savino.

“I would like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for taking such a proactive approach to making our communities safer and more vibrant. I am hopeful that with the implementation of the Mayor’s new public safety plan, increased community involvement and the continued hard work by Police Commissioner Bratton and the NYPD, we will be able to better protect our communities and successfully reduce violence across the city,” said State Senator José M. Serrano.

“NYCHA developments are home to over 400,000 New Yorkers that deserve to live in a safe and healthy environment,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “This innovative plan seeks to reduce violence and make our neighborhoods safer in the short term by implementing a compressive strategy that addresses immediate concerns, while, at the same time, laying the framework to address the root causes of violence through continuous community engagement and the expansion of work and education programs. I am grateful to Mayor de Blasio for working to make our public housing developments safer, and I am especially pleased that the Butler Houses in my district will have access to additional resources through this initiative to combat violence.” 

“While much of New York enjoys a relatively low crime rate, which makes New York City a very safe place overall, there are still neighborhoods where residents are at a much higher risk of crime. That’s why I support Mayor de Blasio’s smart approach of adding more police on patrol, seeking input from residents, and engaging at-risk youth in our highest crime areas. Throughout the City, from my own neighborhood of Crown Heights to the Wagner Houses in East Harlem, every New Yorker should feel safe and secure in their home or walking down their block,” said Assemblyman Karim Camara, Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus.

“The safety and security of NYCHA residents is paramount. I support Mayor de Blasio’s plan to address neighborhood issues with residents to understand their concerns, problems and fears. Any effort to improve communication between City agencies and to coordinate their agendas is essential to providing a safe place for residents to live and ensure that opportunities are available to them for a successful future,” said Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez.

“I applaud the Mayor’s comprehensive approach to expanding police presence, together with the expansion of a broad range of community outreach and the increase of services to reduce violence and improve security for families,” said Assemblyman William Colton.

“Though overall crime is down, we are seeing a rise in gun violence, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for stepping up and taking action,” said Assemblyman Carl Heastie. “I am optimistic that this new initiative will help change our current course. This collaborative effort among law enforcement, City agencies and local communities is a strategy that empowers us to take ownership of the issue, our safety and our quality of life. We should all pledge to work hand-in-hand with the administration to make sure we put an end to the violence.”

“I commend Mayor de Blasio for protecting all New Yorkers from violent crime. This initiative will smartly harness the resources of multiple agencies in collaboration with the communities they serve to ensure that no voices are left out in the effort to increase safety at NYCHA developments,” said Assemblyman Daniel Quart.

“It’s about time that we have a City administration that is paying attention to public housing. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his efforts and hope that this is just the start of a long-term commitment to improving the City’s public housing stock,” said Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his plan that will keep our NYCHA residents safer and improve their quality of life issues. Targeted law enforcement, along with common sense approaches such as additional lighting, installing security cameras, securing doors, repairing parks, and expanding programs for residents, will help drive crime rates down," said Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.

“I am a firm believer that a community is stronger together, when we are unified under one goal in an unrelenting and collaborative effort to improve our environment and provide our children, family and neighbors with a sense of security and peace of mind. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his efforts in making our city safer and providing our most needed communities and NYCHA developments with the ability to make their neighborhoods safer and families stronger. By working together with all—electeds, the 10 city agencies, community activists and organizations, the faith-based and cultural institutions, educators, and parents—we are all relying on each other to build a stronger line of defense against senseless, untimely violence that plagues our streets. In unity, with the right resources, we can help reduce crime, create safe havens for our young people and ensure that we are all following the right path towards a better, stronger tomorrow,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens.

“Using creative approaches to enhance public safety for tens of thousands of public housing residents, the plan announced today by Mayor de Blasio will make a real difference in the quality of life for families throughout New York, and I want to thank him for this initiative,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. “By investing in meeting the needs of domestic violence survivors, and increasing the number of positive activities to engage youth living in NYCHA, this comprehensive plan will yield positive results in the fight against gun violence.”   

“Mayor de Blasio promised during the NYCHA sleepover to make NYCHA not just safer, but to also look at all the issues that need to be addressed. Today’s announcement is a great first step toward that and another example of his commitment to NYCHA residents. CVH looks forward to working with the Mayor and the pertinent agencies to make sure this initiative is successful,” said Agnes Rivera, CVH Member/Leader, Wagner Houses Resident.

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