December 16, 2014
Manhattan District Attorney pledges $101 million in asset forfeiture funds to advance the Mayor’s Action Plan to reduce violence and crime in targeted NYCHA developments
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced significant new investments to enhance security at targeted New York City Housing Authority developments, as part of the administration’s initiative to build stronger families and safer neighborhoods for people living in public housing developments.
The Manhattan DA’s Office—using a portion of funds forfeited by French bank BNP Paribas for violating U.S. sanctions—is committing approximately $101 million to fund key infrastructure upgrades, such as additional exterior and interior security cameras, exterior permanent lighting, new doors and layered (keyfob) access, as well as additional public safety evaluation and programming.
“This administration has made building stronger neighborhoods and improving safety in and around housing developments a priority. We started by giving NYCHA more than $120 million in budgetary relief, investing $210 million to improve safety and improve the quality of life for residents, and with today’s investment, we are further enhancing the security of the physical environment,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m proud to announce these important investments, which will go a long way toward bringing down crime in the developments that need it most by improving the physical environment.”
“Public safety is key to quality of life, especially for those New Yorkers most disproportionately affected by crime,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. “Just 5 percent of New York City residents live in public housing, yet NYCHA accounts for 20 percent of all violent crime citywide. 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.”
Today’s announcement builds on the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, the $210.5 million plan announced by Mayor de Blasio in July 2014 to strengthen neighborhoods and reduce violent crime at the 15 NYCHA developments that account for nearly 20 percent of all violent crime in public housing through more targeted law enforcement efforts, immediate physical improvements, aggressive community engagement and outreach efforts, and the expansion of work and education programs. This initiative includes $25 million from the City Council and the City Council Speaker’s Office to fund infrastructure improvements.
The $101 million dollar investment from the Manhattan District Attorney will complement the long-term plan to reduce violent crime in NYCHA developments through ensuring that housing developments are well lit, well monitored, and secure. Approximately $89 million of District Attorney’s investment will be allocated to infrastructure improvements, including an increase in exterior security cameras, camera connection to NYPD networks, lobby and elevator cameras, new doors, layered (keyfob) access, and improved exterior lighting.
An additional $12 million will be allocated for the development of public safety analysis and programming. This includes community surveys and partnerships for developing violence reduction strategies, analysis of the impact of community centers in improving public safety, tools to assess the risks and prevent future incidents of domestic violence, and an evaluation of the developments’ physical design to identify improvements that would assist in the reduction of crime. These investments represent the latest in a series of public safety and criminal justice initiatives being funded by the District Attorney’s Office using assets forfeited by BNP Paribas for violating U.S. sanctions.
“The physical environment can encourage or inhibit crime, as well as motivate the positive use of public space,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “The infrastructure investments announced today help to lay an important foundation for stronger and safer NYCHA neighborhoods.”
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes, and there are many ways to reach that essential goal. Investing in physical spaces is one, and investing in people is another, especially young people,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “We’re able to do this thanks to unprecedented support from the Mayor and continued collaboration with so many facets of government, including the District Attorney’s Office that is offering NYCHA residents this tremendous opportunity.”
“These improvements will significantly enhance the overall physical security in NYCHA developments and greatly assist the NYPD in our efforts to police these areas in more efficient ways,” said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. “This investment by the City, along with the contributions from the Manhattan District Attorney, will make a real difference.”