NYCHA’s efforts to improve the quality of life for residents in specific developments through a wide-ranging approach are expanding. NYCHA staff in several departments – Community Operations, Property Management, Security, Family Services, Emergency Services and Law – work with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to focus on general quality of life issues, rules enforcement and safety and Security. This initiative now is in place at Edenwald Houses in the Bronx, Marlboro Houses in Brooklyn, and Polo Grounds Towers and Rangel Houses in Manhattan.
|WAM meeting in Polo Grounds Tower. (Photo by ERIC DEUTSCH)|
NYCHA staff is meeting with residents in June at the four developments to outline what the program includes, such as 24-hour availability of emergency services, youth programs, proper outdoor lighting and anti-graffiti efforts. “Having this program is a step up,” said Bernadette McNear, the Resident Association President at Rangel Houses, at a meeting on June 12 at the Polo Grounds Community Center. “We all want a better home. We raise our families here. Everybody needs to join hands and be in this together.”
Through April 2012, overall reported crime incidents in Polo Grounds and Rangel were up 164 percent from the same period in 2011. This includes 77 apartment entrance door problems and 36 main entrance door problems that were attributed to vandalism. “The development is going through a crisis in crime. My concern is for the future,” said Karla Alonso, the Resident Association Secretary and a member of the Resident Watch at Polo Grounds Towers, as she motioned to her 19-month old daughter.
The NYPD is a key partner in these efforts; among their contributions are crime and domestic violence prevention workshops. The Police Service Area (PSA) that covers Polo Grounds Towers and Rangel Houses also collaborates with the local precinct and transit district. “The partnership formed among NYPD, NYCHA and residents has been successful in other areas and we think it will be here too,” said PSA 6 Commanding Officer Luis Despaigne.
The program already operates at Mill Brook Houses in the Bronx, Armstrong Houses in Brooklyn and Washington Houses in Manhattan.
NYCHA Board Member Margarita López, who led the presentation to describe the initiative, encouraged the more than 65 residents at the Polo Grounds kickoff to each bring a few more people with them the next time there is a meeting. “Criminal activity in our developments is conducted by a handful of people,” she said. “That handful of people are not stronger than the people who live in and work at our developments!”
To which a resident shouted back, “Yes!”
Residents who want to report any criminal activity at one of the developments involved in this program can do so anonymously by calling the NYCHA Inspector General at 212-306-3355.
By Eric Deutsch
June 12, 2012