Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and NYCHA Announce Completion of 273 New Safety Lights and Expanded Programs to Reduce Crime at Saint Nicholas Houses in Manhattan

November 2, 2016


273 new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient LED light fixtures illuminate Saint Nicholas Houses, creating safer community for more than 3,500 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

Saint Nicholas MAP Programs include job training, conflict mediation, cultural and recreational programing, and services for victims of intimate partner violence

NEW YORK – The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced the completion of a $2.5 million safety-lighting installation project at Saint Nicholas Houses in Manhattan. The City replaced the development’s outdated exterior lighting system with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting located at entrances, walkways and parking areas.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 273 new lighting fixtures at Saint Nicholas 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.


NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said, “As we work to enhance safety across NYCHA, state-of-the-art lighting is leading the way by brightening our neighborhoods. NYCHA is proud to announce the completion of another permanent lighting installation that will strengthen the Saint Nicholas community and improve quality of life for residents by giving them the sense of security that all New Yorkers deserve.”


Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer said, “With crime at historic lows, New York City neighborhoods require a broad range of strategies to reduce the few remaining pockets of violent crime. Modern exterior lighting is an essential tool in that effort, ensuring well-lit environments that create accessible, vibrant neighborhoods. The new lighting fixtures at Saint Nicholas Houses will improve public safety for the thousands of residents who call Saint Nicholas home.”


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 2.2 percent since FY 2014 and shootings down 14.7 percent since FY 2014.


Year to date, total index crime at Saint Nicholas Houses is down 8.3 percent, with murder flat at zero for the second year in a row, and rape, burglary, and larceny all down significantly ––rape is down 100 percent, with zero incidents this year, compared to two last year; burglary down 50 percent with 1 incident so far this year compared to 2 at the same time last year; and larceny down 42.9 percent––all of which reflects broader trends across PSA 6, where crime is down 3.4 percent, with murder and rape flat, and robbery and larceny down. This trend also closely mirrors the 3.4-percent decrease in major index crime citywide––including murder, robbery, and burglary. NYCHA-wide, shootings are down 12.4 percent, mirroring the 9.8-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 Saint Nicholas Houses include funding for that provide mentoring and jobs for youth and young adults; improved access to public benefits; and legal and social services for victims of intimate partner violence, elder abuse and sex trafficking.


Amy Sananman, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, said, “Safe, vibrant public spaces are at the heart of our work to improve public safety by investing in people, places and networks. Understanding that well-lit neighborhoods discourage crime, lighting has been an essential crime-fighting strategy in our efforts. The Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety is pleased to be united with NYCHA and other MAP partners as we employ a broad range of strategies to address violent crime.”


Council Member Inez E. Dickens said, “New York City is full of diverse communities, but no matter where you live we all deserve to feel safe and secure in the places we call home. Today, I am pleased to see Mayor Bill de Blasio make a commitment to the residents of New York City Housing Authority’s St. Nicholas Houses with a $2.5 million safety-lighting installation project. This effort, coupled with my long-standing investment in security cameras for St. Nicholas Houses, will enable many who call this community home to have a sense of added protection as they about their travels at night. Only by working together can we truly have the type of city that respects all its residents.”


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.


So far this year, NYCHA has completed lighting installations at five 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; a $5.1 million permanent lighting installation at Boulevard Houses in Brooklyn, which included 504 new fixtures; and a $3.1 million permanent lighting installation at Stapleton Houses in Staten Island, which included 358 new fixtures.


Exterior lighting work is currently underway at nine more MAP sites. In 2016, NYCHA expects to complete installations at four of those nine sites––including Butler, Castle Hill, Van Dyke, and Ingersoll Houses; and plans to begin installing exterior LED lighting at the 15th MAP 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. CCTV installation is currently underway at 11 MAP sites, with seven of those installations projected complete in calendar year 2017. All but one of the remaining sites are estimated to be completed by the end of 2018.


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.


Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, “The new security measures at St. Nicholas Houses are a step in the right direction to reduce crime and accidents in our community. Creating safe neighborhoods throughout our city is critical, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to continually invest in technology and programs that improve the quality of life for my constituents.”


Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said, “Our city has made a commitment to provide NYCHA’s 800,000 tenants with clean, safe, affordable housing, and maintaining safe public spaces in NYCHA developments is part of that commitment. Installing new lighting, like removing unnecessary scaffolding, is a simple step that can go a long way in improving safety for NYCHA residents.”


Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said: “The completion of the St. Nicholas Houses safety light installation marks another important milestone in our efforts to deter crime and promote public safety in NYCHA complexes. Every New Yorker deserves a safe place to call home, which is why my Office has committed $101 million in criminal forfeiture proceeds toward these security enhancements, which will help keep thousands of residents across New York City safe.”


State Senator Bill Perkins said, “Public housing is a public resource that must be protected and enhanced at every opportunity. To this end, I commend NYCHA for their timely installation of safety lights at St. Nicholas Houses. I hope that this improvement—paired with companion MAP initiatives—will continue to improve the quality of life for our residents and further demonstrate the worthiness of increased public investment in public housing.”


Assembly Member Keith Wright said, “The upgraded lighting system at Saint Nicholas Houses is an affirmative step forward in our shared goal of improving safety and services for our neighbors in NYCHA. The new system will better illuminate much of the development’s exterior, bringing new life to shared spaces and increased security for Saint Nicholas residents.”


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 St. Nicholas Houses now has expended programs to better serve residents and greatly 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.”