Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Merchants and elected officials charge politics keeping cameras off Nostrand Ave 

Crown Heights merchants and elected officials are charging politics has gotten in the way of their push to get security cameras along crime-prone Nostrand Avenue.

For nearly a year shop owners near Hawthorne Street have been trying to get the cameras - and were angered when state officials allocated $1 million for 150 similar digital devices for Borough Park last month.

"Cameras are a way of prevention. We merchants can't afford them. We have been asking." said Nostrand Avenue Merchants Assn. president Lindiwe Kamau, who owns Expressions in Ceramics, a pottery shop on the strip.

" I have been to so many meetings with elected officials."

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos visited the politically-influential Hasidic Jewish enclave May 20 where he, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park) and Marty Golden (R-Borough Park)announced plans to install the cameras

"Where does the money come from to put cameras in one part of Brooklyn, but we don't have money to put even one camera in another part?" said State Sen. Eric Adams, (D-Crown Heights)

After a spate of shootings on Nostrand Ave. last summer, Adams has been trying to get a group discount on cameras, with area business and residents pitching in for the cost.

Expecting to be blocked by the Republican-controlled state Senate, Adams said he never asked for state funds because Albany leaders have cracked down on lawmaker-sponsored pet projects.

"Skelos helps Republicans and the only Republican in Brooklyn is Marty Golden," said Adams.

"Children walk the streets of Borough Park and (Crown Heights). Politics shouldn't decide who protects children and who doesn't. "

Golden and a Skelos spokesman denied politics was at play.

"The reality of it - a young boy was killed," said Golden. "If we had cameras, maybe it could have saved his life. We see value in it. We'd love to see more communities get involved."

The state funds support the Leiby Kletzky Security Initiative, a pilot program named after the 8-year-old Hasidic boy kidnapped and killed last July.

Officials said the Borough Park plan would copy the NYPD's "Ring of Steel" in Lower Manhattan comprised of hundreds of security cameras.

The program could be expanded to other parts of the borough and the city, officials said.

Hikind said he asked Skelos for the street surveillance funds after the child's death.

"I try to get support from anyone that I can," said Hikind. "It made sense to go to the very top."

Assemlyman Karim Camara (D-Crown Heights) said he requested the go-ahead to take $50,000 from his budget to pay for the Nostrand Avenue cameras in April, but said the inquiry is snaking through Albany's bureaucratic machine. "I will reach out to Skelos," said Camara. "

There are other areas that have great need."

Nostrand Avenue business and homeowners

just want the security system in place before summer, a prime time for shootings.

"There a whole lot of guns in the area" said Kamau. "People stand on the corner and shoot into the air. It is like a war zone."


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog