Wakefield Area News
Crime Camera Fiasco
By Mary V Laura
BRONX, NEW YORK, January 22- Precincts divide their territory into sectors. Generally these are neighborhoods. Within the 47 Precinct, there are neighborhoods that are comparatively crime free and others that definitely are not. Some neighborhoods have only two percent of the crime, others 30 percent.
Last week we took a look at the 47th Precinct's overall crime statistics for 2012. It was not nice. Out of the 59 Precincts in the City, the 47's crime is in the top 10 percent. To make matters worse for Wakefield, its sector is the second highest in crime in the 47. Obviously the goal would be to lower that number.
How to do that (prevent crime) is a complex subject with many subdivisions. We mention only two: prevent crime and arrest perpetrators. Both of these functions are assisted by today's technology. Surely we are all aware of the role cameras and photography play in the apprehension of evildoers. It is almost a nightly regimen for a TV News program to show the photo of a perpetrator, or an incident caught on camera.
Because of that, a few weeks ago we lamented that our elected officials become engaged in any number of great-sounding schemes but neglect some very obvious constituent problems and their solutions. We mentioned security cameras to curb crime because, surely, in a crime-ridden area avoiding crime is on every constituent's mind.
How much crime can cameras stop? Well, they will not stop Murder or any crime not committed in sight of the camera such as some rapes and Grand Larceny, but they may well stop Robbery, Burglary, Assault, Grand Larceny Auto and shootings. If cameras were pervasive, would-be perpetrators would think twice before donning their masks.
In any case, after we wrote our column we discovered that Councilman Oliver Koppell had purchased two cameras for the 47th Precinct but that the protocol for installing them would take a minimum of three years! What kind of nonsense is that? How many criminals will escape justice while we wait for cameras to be installed?
In July of last year, Commissioner Raymond Kelly wrote to Councilman Koppell thanking him for allocating funds in the 2013 fiscal year Adopted Capital Budget for the purchase and installation of NYPD ARGUS surveillance cameras. He goes on to say, "Although we will make every effort to install the cameras as quickly as possible there are several steps necessary to accomplishing this task, including initiation of the contract procurement process, approval by the Mayor's Office of Budget and Management of the certificate to proceed, the selection of appropriate locations, the approval by the affected utility company or other agency (Con Ed and/or the New York City Department of Transportation) to connect to its electrical lines and available vendor resources." The Commissioner goes on to say that other Council members have allocated $8.5 million and the Queens Borough President another $2 million for the same purpose. That amounts to 649 cameras that must go through the aforementioned process before being installed. And so, he concludes that it will take about three years before the cameras are installed.
But wait, there is more. Placing the cameras, that is, their location is not something, which will be determined by the councilperson that allotted the money for it. “Therefore," the Commissioner writes, “In agreeing to accept these funds, the Police Department will need to retain the ability to make the final determination as to the camera locations, and to set the priorities for the installation process."
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