By Sabina Mollot
Earlier this month, Stuyvesant Town’s Public Safety department officially settled into its new home at what was previously a storage area at 2 Stuyvesant Oval.
Following a winter-long construction project, the resulting office, designed by architectural firm STV, is a 1,840-square-foot, glass-front structure with a similar look to the Oval Amenities spaces. Inside the space, past a small lobby, there’s a command center where dozens of new HD monitors allow officers to see everything that the 1,200 surveillance cameras located throughout the complex see in high-definition quality.
But the newer technology isn’t the only improvement. During an interview with a T&V reporter at the office this week, Public Safety Chief Bill McClellan said residents have been giving overwhelmingly positive feedback about the department’s more central location and the easier access to the officers.
“Now they can walk past and they see we take security seriously here,” said McClellan.
In fact, said McClellan, after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the old office on Avenue C and Public Safety had to move to a temporary office at the old Oval Film space, officers began hearing that most residents found the location to be an improvement. So this was taken into consideration by CWCapital when planning a permanent address, as well as the need to keep the office out of a flood zone.
“We want people to come in and ask questions and interact with our Public Safety team,” said CWCapital spokesperson Brian Moriarty, who was also present during the interview, along with CWCapital Asset Manager Andrew Cain. “It’s more convenient for residents.”
It was in 2006 that ST/PCV’s security department officially became known as “Public Safety,” which McClellan said was done since the department is made up of peace officers, not guards.
That said, while preventing and stopping crime is the top priority for the officers, mainly it is quality of life issues that they’re responding to on a regular basis, such as loud parties and unregistered dogs. Dealing with the latter issue has been made a little easier since management introduced a brightly colored registration tag for dogs, eliminating the need to stop all dog owners as they walk through the grounds. When dealing with the former issue, McClellan himself will sometimes show up to the offending apartment with a member of the property’s legal team when a noise issue is particularly serious and persisting.
McClellan, who’s worked for ST/PCV for the past eight years, previously had a 21-year career with the NYPD, and his last role was that of commanding officer of the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights. Since his arrival in ST/PCV, crime in the community has decreased, he said, a fact he credits to upgrades made to the property’s security system as the technology has improved. For example, the system was designed so that cameras can be added any time anywhere, and there have been many added over the past few years as the layout has changed to feature the new amenity spaces as well as the more recent construction projects like the extension of the leasing office. Some cameras also face outside the property, and that came in handy recently when police were looking for a robber who kept hitting a Dunkin Donuts shop on the west side of First Avenue. After the NYPD asked ST/PCV Public Safety to focus a camera at that location, the footage wound up being instrumental in the arrest several days later of a man who molested a young girl at the shop.
Crime tends to be higher on the west side of First Avenue than on the ST/PCV side, “and we’d like to keep it that way,” said McClellan, who also provided some interesting local crime stats. ST/PCV, which covers 10 percent of the 13th Precinct’s coverage area geographically and is home to 24.5 percent of the precinct’s population, only accounts for 5 percent of the crime.
But when there are crimes on the property, once catching the perps, Public Safety officers will typically turn them over to the 13th Precinct for arrests. Though 40 of ST/PCV’s officers are official peace officers with the authority from the NYPD to issue summonses and make arrests, there are still other limitations to consider. “We don’t have an arrest processing center here and we don’t have cells,” said McClellan.
Hours for the new Public Safety office, during which walk-ins are welcomed, are 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The command center is open 24/7 though and people can come in with an emergency after hours.
The construction of the office comes after CWCapital also invested in new trucks as well as three T3 motion scooters for the officers to make their rounds in.