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Alphabet City's Campos Plaza Gets Security Cameras After Years-Long Fight

By Serena Solomon | June 25, 2013 12:43pm
 The public housing development on East 13th Street now has 52 cameras.
Campos Plaza
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EAST VILLAGE — After years of tenants fighting for security cameras at Campos Plaza, the East Village housing complex unveiled 52 of them Tuesday morning.

While the surveillance footage will not be monitored, New York City Housing Authority officials and tenant leaders hope the presence of cameras will act as a deterrent to potential criminals and help catch suspects.

"They have been strategically placed to monitor key areas of the building and the grounds, elevators, equipment rooms," NYCHA Chairman John Rhea said at a press conference. "The NYPD can access the footage at any time to prosecute crimes and catch criminals to make sure they are prosecuted."

The $600,000 system at Campos Plaza, between East 13th and 12th streets from Avenues B to C, is part of a major rollout of more surveillance cameras in NYCHA buildings, including the Lower East Side's Smith Houses, which received cameras in April.

Along with the cameras, signs notifying residents and would-be criminals of the new surveillance system have also been installed throughout Campos Plaza.

In late 2011, an 18-year-old was shot and killed outside the complex during an attempted robbery, authorities said.

City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, who supplied the funding for the system, praised Campos Plaza Tenant Association president Dereese Huff for her campaign for the cameras.

"The cameras should have come sooner, but there was no one to organize the residents to get them on my lengthy list of developments that need cameras," Mendez said. "Dereese was duly elected [to tenant association president] and this has been one of the best things that has happened here."

Christine Bookin, a Campos Plaza resident for 34 years, believes that if the security cameras had been installed earlier, they could have prevented her son's murder on Campos Plaza property in 2008.

"I think they [the gunman] would have been apprehensive to pull out a gun. They would have thought twice," she said of the altercation, which she said started over $20 in drug money. 

Instead, her 31-year-old son was shot in the back and killed, Bookin said.

Bookin was glad to see the new security cameras on Tuesday.

"I am happy they are in because it was a long fight," she said.