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Residents request security cameras after robbery

Pelham Parkway tenants are fuming over the need for more security in their building.

Residents of 750-60 Pelham Parkway South have grown concerned about safety after a push-in robbery that occurred in one of the apartments on Saturday, June 11. A woman was tied up and a laptop and money were stolen during the robbery.

At the tenants meeting on Thursday, July 21, residents called on the building’s owner, E&M Properties LLC, to reactivate a camera system that had been shut off after the owner had purchased the building in May 2010 and the previous owner had not paid a bill, said Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corporation housing specialist Cathy Soto.

Soto facilitated the tenant’s meeting along with a representative from Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office.

“Right now, the main issue is that the cameras are not functioning in the building and they are needed in the lobby, roof and courtyard,” Soto said. “Tenants have begun to see drug dealing occurring in the courtyard because word is out that the cameras are not working.”

The previous landlord, SG2 Properties, had amassed over 900 Department of Housing and Preservation and Development violations in 2009, and E&M has gotten the number down to under 30, Soto said.

Nevertheless, she said that the building’s camera system needs to be turned back on to protect tenants. Building manager, Naftoli Leiner, said that E&M is working on getting either the existing camera system fixed or a new system installed.

“SG2 did not pay a bill, so we are working on getting our own camera system up and running with our own people, and that is going to take some time,” Leiner said.

The management is hoping to have the camera system in the building fully operational by Labor Day, Leiner said. As an added security measure, new locks have been installed on all five of the front doors in the building because the previous ones did not comply with HPD regulations, Leiner added.

Tenant activist Oscar Ruiz said that despite all of the issues he faced with the previous landlord, the video-monitoring system improved safety in the building.

“When we see drug dealers in the courtyard, dealing in front of the cameras, they must know that the cameras are not working,” Ruiz said. “In a case like the robbery, if the police ask for the video surveillance, they cannot get a picture of who committed the crime because the cameras are not working.”

Patience is necessary, Leiner said, as his company is trying to address all of the concerns and HPD violations in a priority manner.

“Is the building where I would like it to be? The answer is no. But come back in a year and ask me the same questions,” Leiner said.

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