|CONTACT:||Sunny Mindel/Matthew Higgins (212)788-2958|
Fire Houses, Police Precincts Among Hundreds of Collection Sites
Bell Atlantic Mobile to Reprogram Phones to Dial 9-1-1 Only
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today announced the largest citywide cellular telephone recycling drive in the country -- P.H.O.N.E.S. (People Helping Others in Need of Emergency Services) -- to help victims of domestic violence and others in need of emergency services. Throughout the month of April, New Yorkers can donate their unwanted cell phones at one of more than 300 locations in all five boroughs, including Police Precincts, Fire Houses and movie theaters. The phones will then be reprogrammed by Bell Atlantic Mobile to dial 9-1-1 and distributed by City agencies to domestic violence victims, senior citizens, neighborhood watch groups, taxi drivers and others in need of immediate access to emergency services.
Joining the Mayor at the City Hall announcement were: Police Commissioner Howard Safir; Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen; Deputy Mayor Anthony Coles; Bill Beutel, Anchorperson for ABC-TV; Charles Hand, President of Bell Atlantic Mobile's New York Metro Region; Human Resources Commissioner Jason Turner; Department for the Aging Commissioner Herbert Stupp; Executive Director of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence, Rhea Mallett.
"The P.H.O.N.E.S. program will give thousands of New Yorkers a portable,
accessible lifeline," the Mayor said. "A quick response can mean the
difference between life and death, and this program will allow those in need
to receive emergency services in an even more timely manner. We encourage all
New Yorkers to donate their old cellular telephones at one of the many drop
off locations throughout New York City."
The program's goal is to collect 10,000 phones in one month, and begin distribution of the phones in the summer. P.H.O.N.E.S. will result in improved public safety, greater protection for individuals, and increased access to emergency services.
"This city-wide effort of collecting and distributing cell phones will enable many people to have immediate access to 911 in an emergency," said Commissioner Safir. "The P.H.O.N.E.S program will also give the NYPD one more tool to successfully combat domestic violence. Domestic violence related homicides declined 13.7% last year. We are committed to reducing the number of people who fall victim to this horrible crime. Whether these phones are used by a domestic violence victim, a school crossing guard, or a homebound elderly person, we believe that this program will ultimately save many lives. I encourage everyone who has an old cell phone they are not using to donate it to this program."
Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen said, "We are pleased to have another 10,000 eyes and ears in the community to help us fight fires and save lives. We encourage New Yorkers to drop off telephones at any of our fire houses."
P.H.O.N.E.S.' principle sponsor, Bell Atlantic Mobile, has been focusing on domestic violence prevention and education since 1995 through donations of wireless phones and Hopelineâ wireless voice mail service to prosecutors' offices and women's shelters.
Charles Hand, President of Bell Atlantic Mobile's New York Metro Region said, "Since January of last year, our Wireless at Work Recycling program has reclaimed more than 10,000 used cellular telephones and put them into the hands of people who need emergency communications. We are pleased to partner with New York City as it launches the most ambitious cell phone recycling drive yet."
The P.H.O.N.E.S. program was initiated by the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence, which implements the City's domestic violence strategy. P.H.O.N.E.S. will benefit victims of domestic violence as well as all New Yorkers in need of this valuable lifeline. The P.H.O.N.E.S. program builds upon the several domestic violence programs launched by the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence since its creation in 1994.
Rhea Mallett, Executive Director of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence said, "The P.H.O.N.E.S. drive is yet another one of the Mayor's expanded efforts to stem the tide of domestic violence. We encourage all New Yorkers to hand over their old, unused telephones - their donation could save a life."
Principle sponsors include: Bell Atlantic Mobile, ABC-TV, Bozell Advertising, Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP), Goldman Sachs, TDI and Loews Cineplex Entertainment.
New Yorkers and area businesses may place their old cellular telephone, with its battery and charger, in a clear plastic bag and bring it to one of over 300 collection sites throughout the five boroughs. Drop-off sites include: Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station, the World Trade Center, the World Financial Center, Bell Atlantic Mobile Stores, Loews, Sony and Cineplex Odeon Theatres, New York Health and Racquet Clubs and all police precincts and firehouses. For additional drop-off locations or to find out more about the program, visit the City's web site at www.nyc.gov/phones or call 212-788-7878.
Retail stores throughout the five boroughs advertising the program include: Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Key Foods, The Gap, HMV Records, Tower Records, New World Coffee, C-Town and Bravo Supermarkets, Borders Books, Bellmarc Realty, Kozmo.com, White Rose Supermarkets, Associated Supermarkets, D'Agostino Supermarkets and wherever Canada Dry products are sold.
Some of the City's other domestic violence initiatives include:
For more information on the City's domestic violence initiatives, see the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence web page at: www.nyc.gov/domesticviolence