Cameras installed after sex-offender scare

For 25 years Irene Estrada-Rukaj fought for cameras at her Wallace Avenue building. After a recent sex offender scare she finally got her wish. - Photo by Walter Pofeldt

After years of complaining and nearly 10 months in court with her landlord, the Mayfair and Mayflower Tenant’s Association president finally feels secure.  The buildings are showing signs of landlord neglect, she said.

Irene Estrada-Rukaj credits a news article about a sex offender that lived in her building for leading to the installation of security cameras in the two buildings at 2910 Wallace Avenue and 2911 Barnes Avenue. 

It was late-March when Estrada-Rukaj got an unexpected visit from the New York City Sex Offender Unit. She was watching her grandchildren, who also live in her building, when the police alerted her that a registered sex offender had been living across the hallway and was now being pursued by the NYPD.

Unbeknown to her, or any of the other tenants, Estrada-Rukaj said everyone was furious with the news.

“We cannot tolerate that because we have so many kids in our neighborhood,” she said.

On April 8, approximately 60 of the building’s residents met, however, even after further discussions with the property’s landlord, Estrada-Rukaj said it wasn’t until she made an appearance in court on May 21, that changes were made.

“After the court date, the cameras went up,” she explained. “If it wasn’t for the Bronx Times Reporter article this wouldn’t have happened,” she explained about proving her claims to the judge. 

Now, not only are there cameras in each building, but each facility is also receiving a new coat of paint and cleaner hallways.

“We’re all excited that we’re finally getting things done,” Estrada-Rukaj said. As for the cameras, “Everybody in the building was so surprised,” she added. “They feel safer.”

Recent tenant Arthurine Richards said after hearing about the sex offender, the building needed an extra sense of security.

“It’s a big plus, especially for the elderly people,” she explained.

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