New Security Cameras Ease Seniors Concerns

For the past few years residents at the city-owned Boston Road Plaza senior center have been the victims of break-ins, robberies and muggings. But now the 216 senior citizens that call the building home can rest easy since several new security cameras will be watching the first-floor entrances.

Monday, June 6, eight security cameras were unveiled that will provide constant surveillance of the front and back of the first-floor entrances from both outside and from within. Cameras were also installed in the laundry room and the elevators that service the 20-floor building, which is one of the few senior-only buildings owned by the New York City Housing Authority.

“Everybody is happy about the new cameras,” said Edelmire River, who has been a tenant of the building for 18 years. “We had to fight for the cameras and we needed it.”

The cameras have been connected to a monitoring system at the 49th Precinct and were paid for with a $100,000 allocation arranged by Councilman James Vacca. “We’re very happy that councilman got us the cameras,” tenant association president Gloria Best said. “We’re senior citizens and at this age we need all the safety we can get.”

According to Best, the building has had frequent break-ins in the past and the tenants have fought long and hard to get the new security cameras installed. “During the summer teens would come in and there were vagrants in the area. We’ve had a couple of robberies and we found people in the stairway. That was when we knew it was time for us to ask to have this project funded and now we feel safer,” Best said. “I think the police will respond faster now, especially if they can digitally watch this, and it should have a dramatic affect on finding the criminals if they can see it on tape.”

Vacca, who helped residents cut the ribbon on the new cameras at the event Monday, said that although he secured funding for the project in 2007, he has been fighting to get the cameras set up for nearly three years, but issues with what agency would monitor the feed, and with the city housing authority as well, led to some delays. He said addressing security issues in the area has been a priority for him. Recently, he helped secure funds to add security lighting outside the Van Nest Library.

“This is something we pushed and pushed for. Now anyone who thinks they can do something wrong here can think again,” he said. “We put in the money so the units are safe and money can’t be spent any better than that.”

Reach reporter Max Mitchell at (718) 742-3394 or

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