FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 16, 2017
MAYOR’S OFFICE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND NYCHA ANNOUNCE NEW SAFETY LIGHTING COMPLETED CREATING SAFER COMMUNITIES FOR MORE THAN 14,000 BROOKLYN RESIDENTS
1802 new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient LED light fixtures illuminate Ingersoll, Van Dyke Tompkins and Brownsville Houses
NEW YORK–– Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced the completion of $19.1 million in new lighting projects at Ingersoll, Van Dyke, Tompkins and Brownsville Houses. The City replaced the developments’ outdated exterior lighting system with bright, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting located at entrances, walkways and parking areas.
The installation of 1,802 new lighting fixtures at all four developments is a key part of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP), a comprehensive strategy to reduce violence and increase neighborhood safety at the 15 NYCHA development sites that accounted for 20 percent of all violent crime in public housing in 2014. Convened in July 2014 and operated by MOCJ, MAP enhances coordination between the New York City Police Department, NYCHA, City service agencies and public housing residents. This collaboration is addressing the physical, economic, and social conditions with the goal of creating safe and strong neighborhoods for the people who live in them. Since 2014, total index crime at Ingersoll, Van Dyke, Tompkins and Brownsville Houses is down 11 percent, violent crime is down 9 percent and shootings are down 42%.
Ingersoll Houses Resident Association President Anthony Sosa said, “Having the lights for Ingersoll, brought more security and more stability for our seniors and young kids, so they’re not walking somewhere dimly lit. The lighting benefits our youth and seniors because a lot of people were afraid to come out after 5 because it was dark. The lights are a very good thing; it keeps our development brightly lit and allows for safe passage.”
The permanent lighting investment at Ingersoll Houses totaling $5.3 million includes 523 new light fixtures installed. This development located in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn is home more than 4,000 residents.
Van Dyke Houses 1 Resident Association President Lisa Kenner said, “Before we had these lights, it was dark and you had to really focus your eyes when walking because everybody looked like a shadow. A lot of seniors would not come out after 4pm. Now that we have the new safety lights, it looks like a stadium in some areas, like the basketball courts. If there is an event in the evening, the seniors and families are more open to coming out because they feel much safer. ”
The permanent lighting investment at Van Dyke Houses totaling $5.6 million includes 527 new light fixtures installed. The development made up of two sections is home to more than 4,000 residents in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.
Tompkins Houses Resident Association President Leora Keith said, “I think this is best thing that has ever happened to Tompkins since I moved here in the 70’s. The walkways are brightly lit so residents feel safe walking around our community and they can see the beautiful Groundswell murals any time day or night.”
The permanent lighting investment at Tompkins Houses totaling $3.5 million includes 324 new light fixtures installed. This development located in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn is home to nearly 3,000 residents.
Brownsville Houses Resident Association Secretary Robin Sims said, “The upside of this initiative is that the lights make residents feel safer while walking through the development because it has brightened the area. It’s great because the play areas are brighter so families feel much safer.”
The permanent lighting investment at Brownsville Houses totaling $4.7 million includes 428 new light fixtures installed. More than 3,000 New Yorkers call this development in Brownsville home.
NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said, “Investing in the safety and security of public housing communities is crucial to improving our residents’ quality of life. With new lighting at these developments, residents feel safer. Thanks to a collaborative effort led by Mayor Bill de Blasio that includes job training and programs for young people, crime is going down.”
Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer said, “Well lit public spaces are key to public safety, creating an inviting environment that encourages positive use. The new lighting at Ingersoll, Van Dyke, Tompkins, and Brownsville Houses has been sited and installed in consultation with the residents and is one more tangible step in our joint work to improve public safety and the quality of life for the thousands of residents who live in the developments.”
Amy Sananman, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, said, “Creating safe, vibrant public spaces is essential to the work of The Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Investing in people, places and networks centers residents’ role in increasing public safety through community-building. We are pleased to be united with NYCHA and other MAP partners to provide lighting to four Brooklyn housing developments as we employ a broad range of strategies to address crime.”
In its first year, the MAP strategy brought physical improvements to public housing and facilitated joint problem-solving between police and residents. The results so far have been promising. Between Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, New York City saw a 6.9 percent decrease in violent crime, while violent crime in the 15 MAP developments dropped by 11.2 percent. From 2014 to 2016, New York City saw a 1 percent decrease in violent crime, while violent crime in the 15 MAP developments dropped by 7 percent and shooting incidents decreased by 38 percent.
In addition to improving infrastructure and public space as an essential approach to fighting crime, MAP’s comprehensive strategy includes investments that aim to reduce concentrated economic disadvantage through employment opportunities and reducing violence while promoting public safety. Current MAP investments at Ingersoll, Van Dyke, Tompkins and Brownsville Houses include funding for programs that provide mentoring and job training for youth and young adults conflict mediation programming and support groups, and improved access to public benefits. The holistic approach has contributed to the developments’ declining crime statistics.
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said, “I want to commend Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and the New York City Housing Authority for their commitment to protecting the residents of Ingersoll, Van Dyke, Tompkins, and Brownsville houses by installing safety lighting and reducing the number of areas where criminal activities could occur. This initiative will build on their already-successful work in keeping the community safe for families and children.”
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries said, “This $19 million safety project is a strong step in the right direction to ensure every NYCHA resident is safe when leaving and returning home. But we aren’t done. We will continue working at each level of government to help protect citizens in public housing developments throughout New York City. NYCHA and all elected officials involved should be commended for their work in this critical effort.”
Council Member Laurie Cumbo said, "The safety-lighting installation has been a welcome addition to a community that has been the scene of so much violence, including a triple homicide in 2015. The Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses, one of five public housing developments in the 35th Council District, is home to thousands of New Yorkers who deserve to live in a safe environment. I hope that the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety will be expanded as a proactive measure to facilitate security upgrades in all NYCHA developments to help deter crime throughout the City of New York.”
Council Member Darlene Mealy said, "I undeniably support the updated reforms of the safety-lighting installation at the Van Dyke and Brownsville Houses. It is imperative to me that the areas surrounding these low income houses in my district are well lit in efforts to protect our families from criminal activity and to care for these neighborhoods that are overlooked." "Ultimately the main goal is geared to making our Brooklyn neighborhoods safe for low, middle and upperclass constituents equally."
Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley said, "I commend NYCHA and the Mayor’s initiative to provide $19.1 million in safety-lighting installation at Ingersoll, Van Dyke, Tompkins and Brownsville Houses. It is no secret that many of our NYCHA housing developments are in need of structural and exterior upgrades. Our city and state officials have taken a step in the right direction in providing these developments with state-of-the-art, energy-saving lighting located at each of their entrances, walkways, and parking areas. In an effort to protect our most vulnerable citizens, improvements such as these new lighting systems will serve as a fundamental piece to the crime reduction strategies and safety our housing developments are in such desperate need of.”
NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton said, "I welcome the completion of this round of investment in safer lighting projects. All public housing residents should count on us for thoughtful investment that enhances public safety. I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and the New York City Housing Authority in support of State and City interventions to make our neighborhoods’ public housing the quality, livable communities residents deserve."
To date, $140 million has been allocated for security enhancements at MAP sites, including lighting, CCTV and layered access control doors (LAC), with funding from the City Council and Speaker, the Mayor’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said: “With each completed lighting installation, NYCHA developments and the thousands of New Yorkers who call them home are more secure. I am proud of my Office’s $101 million investment in NYCHA’s physical infrastructure, which will prevent crime and keep residents safe.”
Since 2016, NYCHA has completed lighting installations at 11 MAP sites including: Polo Grounds Towers, Bushwick Houses, Boulevard Houses, Stapleton Houses, Saint Nicholas Houses, Butler Houses, Castle Hill Houses, Van Dyke Houses, Brownsville Houses, Tompkins Houses and Ingersoll Houses.
Exterior lighting work is currently underway at the 3 MAP sites including Queensbridge which recently went a full year without a shooting incident. By the end of this year, 14 of the 15 MAP sites will have brand new state of the art lighting and temporary light towers will remain in place until all projects are completed.
The next phase of security enhancements at these MAP sites will include the installation of CCTV and LAC. CCTV installation is currently underway at 14 MAP sites, with 4 of those installations projected to complete this year.
Similarly, the Housing Authority has aggressively expanded security measures through NextGeneration NYCHA, the Authority’s ten-year strategic plan to create safer, cleaner and more connected communities throughout public housing across New York City. Since 2014, NYCHA has spent more than $171 million installing and upgrading CCTV safety cameras and increasing the number of LAC citywide.