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Delivering For Public Housing: Mayor de Blasio Announces Completion of 358 New Safety Lights and Expanded Programs to Reduce Crime at Staten Island's Stapleton Houses

August 4, 2016

358 new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient LED light fixtures illuminate Stapleton Houses, creating safer community for more than 2,100 residents

Exterior lighting key part of Mayor’s Action Plan – $140 million comprehensive effort to improve security at 15 NYCHA sites, home to nearly 62,000 residents

Stapleton MAP Programs include mentoring and employment opportunities, anti-violence outreach, and legal and social services for residents

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 a $3.1 million safety-lighting installation project at Stapleton Houses in Staten Island. The City replaced the development’s outdated exterior lighting system with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting located at entrances, walkways and parking areas.

The installation of 358 new lighting fixtures at Stapleton Houses 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 to address physical, economic, and social conditions to create safe and strong neighborhoods in partnership with the people who live in them. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We are making tremendous strides in increasing safety throughout public housing communities, from significantly-increasing security cameras to installing sustainable state-of-the-art lighting. Exterior safety lighting is one vital tool in the larger effort to decrease violence and illegal activity in public housing.”

NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said, “Ensuring safety is key to creating strong, connected communities at NYCHA. This state-of-the-art lighting will brighten Stapleton Houses, giving residents the sense of security they deserve and making the entire neighborhood safer for our children and families.”
Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer said, “Permanent exterior lighting is an essential tool that advances the Administration’s commitment to reducing crime through an array of methods beyond traditional law enforcement.  The built environment, when well-lit, invites neighbors to use the space and in turn makes neighborhoods accessible, vibrant and thriving. The new lighting at Stapleton Houses will promote public safety and improve the quality of life for the thousands of residents who live in Stapleton.”

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. For the second year in a row, crime is down at NYCHA’s MAP developments in Fiscal Year 2016 compared to Fiscal Year 2014, with violent crime down 2.24 percent and shootings down 14.7 percent.

Since MAP began, Stapleton Houses has seen progress stemming major index crimes, with murders and shootings flat at zero year-to-date for the second year in a row. This mirrors the nearly 8 percent decrease in murders citywide. Rape, felony assault and burglary are also down at Stapleton Houses this year, with zero rapes, zero burglaries and an 11 percent decrease in assaults. NYCHA-wide, shootings are down over 18 percent, reflecting the broader 41 percent decrease in shootings across the 120th Precinct, and closely mirroring the 19 percent decrease in shootings citywide.

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 reduce violence while promoting public safety. Current MAP investments at Stapleton Houses include funding for programs that provide mentoring and jobs for youth and young adults; improved access to public benefits; training and deployment of cure violence outreach workers and youth peacemakers; and legal and social services for victims of intimate partner violence, elder abuse and sex trafficking.

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 $64.6 million installing and upgrading CCTV safety cameras, bringing the total number of CCTV cameras citywide to more than 13,000. NYCHA has also greatly increased the number of Layered Access Control (LAC) doors. So far this year, NYCHA has completed lighting installations at four MAP sites, including a $4.8 million permanent lighting installation at Polo Grounds Towers in Harlem, which included 341 new light fixtures; a $4.1 million permanent lighting installation at Bushwick Houses in Brooklyn, which included 305 new light fixtures; and a $5.1 million permanent lighting installation at Boulevard Houses in Brooklyn, which included 504 new fixtures.

To date, $140 million has been allocated for security enhancements at MAP sites, including lighting, CCTV and LAC, with funding from the City Council and Speaker, the Mayor’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Exterior lighting work has started at 13 sites, with 4 sites – Polo Grounds, Bushwick, Boulevard Houses and Stapleton – completed; and CCTV/LAC work has started at 10 sites.

In 2016, NYCHA expects to complete lighting installations at another 5 MAP sites, including Butler, St. Nicholas, Van Dyke, Castle Hill and Ingersoll; plans to begin installing exterior LED lighting at 1 more site – Queensbridge North and South – at an estimated cost of $13 million. The new lighting installation is expected to be completed at 13 of the 15 MAP sites by the end of 2017. Temporary light towers will remain in place at MAP sites until all projects are completed. The next phase will be the installation of CCTV and LAC at these MAP sites. Construction is already underway at ten MAP sites, with four of the remaining installations rolling out over the fall of 2016. Most of the sites are estimated to be completed by the end of 2018.

Amy Sananman, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, said, “The Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety actively invests in people, places and networks as an essential crime-fighting strategy, understanding that divestment leads to disadvantage, disconnection and physical disorder – all of which encourage crime. We are pleased to be united with NYCHA and other MAP partners to comprehensively tackle the root causes of violent crime.”

Congressman Daniel Donovan said, "Improved lighting at NYCHA facilities is a common-sense safety measure to reduce crime in public housing. Thank you to the de Blasio administration for completing its work at Stapleton Houses."

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said, “Every person deserves the chance to live in a safe and secure community.  This initiative – installing safety lights at the Stapleton Houses – is intended to increase safety and security for residents who will no longer have to traverse entrances, walkways and parking lots in the dark.”    

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said, “Every New Yorker deserves a safe place to call home, which is why my Office has committed $101 million in criminal forfeiture proceeds toward NYCHA security enhancements. A crime prevented is better than a crime prosecuted, and these security improvements will help make Stapleton Houses and 14 other priority sites more safe. This strategic, proactive investment in physical infrastructure will have a tangible impact on the daily lives of thousands of New Yorkers.”

Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, “This much needed safety-lighting installation at the Stapleton Houses will go a long way toward creating a safer community on Staten Island.  As someone who grew up playing basketball and baseball at the Stapleton Houses, I know full well the benefit these services will provide the residents who call Stapleton home.  With these state of the art light fixtures, law enforcement will better be able to protect the community and ensure the public safety of all Staten Islanders.”

State Senator Diane Savino said, "I want to thank the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and the New York City Housing Authority for installing new state-of-the-art energy efficient lights at the Stapleton Houses. This is great news for residents who've been so desperately in need of better lighting for far too long. Thanks to this new system, Stapleton residents will no longer be subjected to walking around their development with little to no lighting. Not only was it a quality of life issue but a safety one as well. It's my hope that with these new lights, comes a better sense of security for those individuals living in the Stapleton Houses."

Assembly Member Matthew Titone said, “Adequate lighting has been a safety concern long voiced to me by the residents of Stapleton Houses. I am glad those voices have been heard.”

Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the City Council Committee on Public Housing, said, “The installation of state-of-the-art lighting is a necessity in ensuring public safety and reducing crime; residents of the Stapleton Houses can now feel safe in their homes. I look forward to partnering with NYCHA and MOCJ in furthering the safe lighting initiative throughout other developments – making our a city a safer city for everyone.”

Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, said, “NYCHA residents deserve to feel safe in their homes. Through MAP, we have been evaluating the public safety concerns of individual developments, and tailoring our work to best meet their needs. I am thankful that Stapleton Houses now has enhanced safety lighting to deter would-be criminals and allow residents to feel safe walking around their communities after dark. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice's Executive Director Elizabeth Glazer for prioritizing the safety of public housing residents and their ongoing commitment to the safety and security of all New Yorkers.”

Council Member Debi Rose said, “This state-of-the-art lighting system has proven effective at making NYCHA houses safer in other parts of the city, and I applaud its completion here in Stapleton. These 358 new fixtures will not only improve the safety of residents, but they will also make our city housing more energy efficient.”

Stapleton Houses Tenant Association President Geraldine Parker said, “Our residents are very excited about these new, bright lights, which make us all feel safer in our community. Now, our young people to our seniors can come and go as they please, without having to worry about walking through shadows and darkness, especially at night. This is a good day for Stapleton.”

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