It took the vicious murder of an elderly grandmother to do it.
But senior citizens and other residents of two Bronx public housing projects are now getting security cameras.
Joined by other officials and tenant leaders, Councilman Jimmy Vacca announced Tuesday, July 10 the Pelham Parkway Houses and the Throggs Neck Houses, where many elderly residents call home will be getting the new security system, also including electric keys and improved locks over the next few years, thanks to $4.6 million in city funding.
Police are still hunting for the killer of 88-year-old Evelyn Shapiro, brutally murdered inside her apartment in the Pelham Parkway Houses June 16. Throggs Neck Houses – another NYCHA complex, saw two murders last year.
Vacca called the surveillance systems “vital” and said “funding is only the beginning.”
“This is not going to be a hiding place anymore,” said Vacca, standing outside 2455 Williamsbridge Road, next to Shapiro’s building.
Shapiro was bludgeoned to death inside her sixth-floor apartment on June 16, returning from a shopping trip and her apartment ransacked.
Police believe her attacker may have offered to help carry the groceries into her locked building.
Shapiro’s body was found face down in a hallway between the bedroom and kitchen, groceries scattered on the floor.
Sources said investigators have gone through a number of potential suspects and have narrowed their investigation down to one “person of interest.”
The incident – the first murder in Pelham Parkway Houses in over 30 years – has left residents visibly shaken and vulnerable.
Vacca, as well as Pelham Houses residents, said that drug dealing and gang activity run rampant in several parts of the housing complex, to the point where residents have dubbed one of the sections “Siberia.”
“We’ve had too much of this here in Pelham Parkway,” said Vacca.
NYCHA’s Atefeh Riazi, acting general manager, said housing units are often left vulnerable to crime because the agency doesn’t have enough money to pay for cameras.
NYCHA has 865 security surveillance cameras at 11 developments in the Bronx.
They’ll start installing the cameras early next year.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383