Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and NYCHA Announce Completion Of Major Safety Lighting Installations and Expanded Programs to Reduce Crime at Butler Houses and Castle Hill Houses in the Bronx

December 20, 2016


749 new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient LED light fixtures illuminate Castle Hill Houses, and 245 new fixtures illuminate Butler Houses, creating safer communities for more than 9,600 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

MAP Programs at Butler and Castle Hill Houses include mentoring and job training for youth and young adults, conflict mediation programming and support groups, and improved access to public benefits

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 an $8.2 million safety-lighting installation project at Castle Hill Houses and a $2.4 million safety-lighting installation project at Butler Houses––both in the Bronx. The City replaced the developments’ outdated exterior lighting system with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting located at entrances, walkways and parking areas.


The installation of 749 new lighting fixtures at Castle Hill Houses and 245 new lighting fixtures at Butler 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, “Enhancing safety is critical to strengthening public housing communities for this and the next generation. These new state-of-the-art lighting systems are just the beginning of the comprehensive safety upgrades we’re making at these developments to improve residents’ quality of life, including security cameras and high-security doors. We’re proud to announce that both of these developments are rounding out the year with significant drops in crime––which, with NYPD partnership, we hope to see decrease even further in 2017.”


Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer said, “Trust is the foundation of public safety, and design is a key piece of building trust: 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 Castle Hill will promote public safety and improve the quality of life for the thousands of residents who live in Castle Hill.”


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 Butler and Castle Hill Houses is down 21 percent, with most major index categories down or flat. Robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and shootings are all down – including robberies down 26.47 percent, assault down 17.14 percent, burglary down 28.57 percent, and shootings down 85.71 percent year-to-date. This trend mirrors the nearly 4-percent decrease in major index crime, including murders, citywide. NYCHA-wide, shootings are down 13.95 percent, reflecting the broader 26.92-percent decrease in shootings across PSA 7 and the 36 percent decrease across PSA 8.


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 reducing violence while promoting public safety. Current MAP investments at Butler and Castle Hill Houses include funding for programs that provide mentoring and job training for youth and young adults conflict mediation programming and support groups, and improved access to public benefits.


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.”


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. Lighting continues to be a critical public safety concern, especially in Bronx’s NYCHA housing. I am thankful through the 749 new lighting fixtures at Castle Hill Houses and the 245 new lighting fixtures at Butler Houses, we are taking a significant step to address this problem. This 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, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice’s Executive Director Elizabeth Glazer, Chair & Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Housing Authority Shola Olatoye, and Chair of the Committee on Public Housing Council Member Ritchie Torres for prioritizing the safety of public housing residents and for their ongoing commitment to the safety and security of all New Yorkers.”


Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing, said, “The safety of public housing residents is my number one priority as chair of the Committee that oversees NYCHA. These much needed lighting improvements will ensure that residents feel safe while walking around at night, and will also stem the possibility of criminal activity. It is a step forward in improving neighborhood relations and it is much welcomed news for the community and residents.”


Council Member Annabel Palma said, “I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety initiative has led to the installation of safety lights at Castle Hill Houses. Under the cover of darkness, criminal activity tends to flourish; I believe illuminating areas that once were dark will help reduce the opportunities for these crimes to take place. Residents of public housing deserve a right to live in safe and productive environs; this is but one step in the right direct toward achieving that objective.”


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 seven 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; a $3.1 million permanent lighting installation at Stapleton Houses in Staten Island, which included 358 new fixtures; and a $2.5 million permanent lighting installation at St. Nicholas Houses, which included 273 new fixtures.


Exterior lighting work is currently underway at the remaining eight MAP sites. In 2016, NYCHA expects to complete installations at two more of those eight sites––including Van Dyke and Ingersoll. 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.


Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said, “With each completed lighting installation, NYCHA complexes and the thousands of New Yorkers who call them home are more secure. I am proud of my Office’s $101 million investment in physical infrastructure, which will prevent crime and keep NYCHA residents safe.”


State Senator Ruben Diaz said, “After meeting with residents from Castle Hill Houses, I was pleased to hear how happy they are with these new lights, and how quickly the installation was completed. I will continue to work with my colleague Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, who allocated the funds that were needed for this project. Thank you to the Mayor’s office and to NYCHA for making Castle Hill Houses a priority. It is also good to know that Butler Houses, which is also in my Senatorial District has had its lighting restoration complete.”


Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda said, “”I salute the city and all those involved in bringing this project to fruition. This new lighting, along with the Mayor’s Action Plan for neighborhood safety, brings new hope to the residents of the Castle Hill Houses. I pledge to continue working with the city on behalf of these good people. They deserve no less than decent, safe housing.”


Castle Hill Resident Association President Geraldine Lamb said, “We are very pleased and grateful that the lights are at Castle Hill Houses because they will help deter crimes that are normally done in the dark and they have already added to the safety of development.”


Butler Houses Resident Association President Cornell Nolton said, “Residents are very satisfied with the Mayor’s decision to put the lights at Butler Houses because now they feel much safer in their development.”