Assemblyman Dov Hikind took to the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue J this morning to announce that installation of the first wave of 320 security cameras is set to begin soon.
In a press release, the local pol boasts of the “expensive, state-of-the-art system of surveillance cameras,” for which the $1 million price tag is taxpayer subsidized. The first set of 80 units, containing four cameras each, will be placed this week near commercial districts, schools, institutions and residential areas in Borough Park and Midwood.
The program is dubbed the Leiby Kletzky Security Initiative in honore of the 8-year-old Borough Park boy who was abducted and brutally murdered on his way home from day camp in 2011.
“As I pointed out when we first secured the funding for this initiative, our community is often a potential target for attacks,” said Hikind in the release. “The new security-surveillance system that we are now putting in place will not only decrease the chances of outside attacks, but it will also enormously enhance law enforcement’s ability to solve and prevent local crimes. If any person were to go missing, G-d forbid, we will have exponentially increased the ability to locate and recover that person. If there’s an assault on someone in our community, we will have increased our chances of catching the criminal.”
Funding for the cameras was first announced last year, sparking controversy among some opposed to diverting taxpayer money to an area with low crime rates. Some were rankled by the swiftness of the installation, including those who’ve noted that since 2004, $42 million had been set aside for cameras to be installed in New York City Housing Authority buildings and yet no cameras had been installed for nine years.
The Haredi organization Agudath Israel will administer the project and serve as fiscal agent, but in a report by Matzav.com they’ve sought to clear up some of the confusion about what that means:
When asked to explain exactly how this project will work, Mr. Tanenbaum responded by clearing up some misinformation that has appeared in the press. “First of all, no one will monitor these cameras on a live feed. If and when a crime is reported, or a person is reported missing, then the police, and only the police, will have immediate access to the recorded data. Secondly, at no time will anyone from Agudath Israel or Mr. Hikind’s staff be directly involved in viewing the images recorded by the cameras. This is the job of the police, not amateurs.”