NEW YORK CITY—Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled Tuesday a $210 million, comprehensive plan to make city neighborhoods safer and reduce violent crime in New York City Housing Authority developments. The move comes after several incidents in such properties and in the wake of at least one former Bloomberg administration official—who’s now in real estate—noting the importance of quality of life issues in retaining the city’s appeal.
The new program calls for more targeted law enforcement efforts, immediate physical improvements, aggressive community engagement and outreach efforts, and the expansion of work and education programs. The plan—which is intended to foster improvements over the long-term versus having an immediate impact—will harness the resources of 10 city agencies, community groups, non-profits and public housing residents in a coordinated effort to reduce crime.
During a presentation last month, former NYC Economic Development Corp. president Seth Pinsky said, “One of the most important measures accomplished by the Bloomberg administration was its investment in improving quality of life and in infrastructure.”
“That allowed us to attract young residents so that when areas like the East Village became too expensive, they could look across the river to Williamsburg where now, trains that don’t break down every 2,000 miles and residents are not worried about safety,” continued Pinsky, who now serves as EVP of RXR Realty.
The $210.5 million investment consists of $122 million of city funds to relieve NYCHA of other obligations, allowing that money to be used for repairs and maintenance; $50 million for physical improvements to enhance security; $1.5 million for exterior lighting at the 15 developments; $21.4 million for the civilianization of 200 police officers; and $15.6 million to expand community programs.
Also as part of the program, the NYPD will re-allocate resources and equipment to deploy more than 700 additional officers to the precincts and NYCHA developments with the highest need, increasing the NYPD’s housing bureau by about a third.
NYCHA has already moved 10.9 miles of sidewalk shed in 2014, and will have an additional 10.2 miles removed by next spring as the underlying construction work on building facades is completed. In addition to those ongoing efforts, the administration and the City Council are investing $50 million for physical improvements to enhance security, including security lights, camera installation, and the installation of layered access and new doors where they are needed most
The administration began investing in physical improvements to NYCHA developments with its preliminary budget in February and, to date, has provided NYCHA with $122 million of city funds to relieve the authority from prior financial obligations.