By Sabina Mollot
As part of an ongoing effort aimed at making Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village safer, management will soon be replacing all 1,332 of the surveillance cameras on the property with newer models that offer higher-resolution images. Another 161 cameras will also be installed in other places, including each building’s laundry room and carriage rooms, where bikes are stored. This will bring the total to 1,493 cameras onsite.
The project will cost close to $2 million. However, according to Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk, the cost will not be passed on to tenants through a major capital improvement (MCI) rent increase.
According to Rei Moya, director of operations in ST/PCV, the new cameras will offer significantly better image quality, similar to that of a TV show, as opposed to the somewhat choppy grainy footage that’s currently available. (The resolution is 1,080 as opposed to the current 480.) It will also be available through an ethernet connection, allowing public safety department and management employees to access images on their phones, which hadn’t been possible previously. The new technology will also enable a photo to be taken any time a person passes through certain thresholds, like near carriage rooms. While this means every resident will have his or her photo taken on every trip to retrieve a bike, it will also capture individuals looking to steal bikes. The purpose of the photos is that they will save a lot of time as compared to the current process of scrolling through what can amount to hundreds of hours of footage to find a theft suspect.
“If someone hops a fence and runs, with the technology this system has a threshold so anyone jumping a fence gets their photo taken,” Hayduk explained.
Twenty-six new thermal rooftop cameras will also be wired to move 360 degrees and the images will pop up in the public safety command center if someone goes on the roof. Currently, someone opening a roof door does trigger an alert. Usually, Hayduk explained, people realize once on the roof they’re not supposed to be there and leave or it’s a teenager doing it to be funny. With the new cameras that can swivel around, “The command center can call it up and see if it’s kids looking to cause trouble or something (else). Currently, all we can do is dispatch an officer.”
Additionally, the cameras have thermal imaging, which means the images will be clear even at night. Images and footage will be saved for six months.
The cameras weren’t in response to any particular incident like the sexual assault of a woman in a Stuyvesant Town building last week, for which a homeless man was since arrested and charged for.
Hayduk noted that there were two sexual assaults on the property in the past three years including the one last Monday. The suspects in those incidents, he believes, were opportunists and not reflective of any crime patterns anywhere in ST/PCV.
Another recent effort is focus on quality of life issues, such as dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets. To make sure officers are free to patrol as opposed to making sure there are no dog poop infractions, management recently installed dog waste bag stations all around the complex. SPS also recently purchased two street cleaning vehicles for the property.
“We’re making it easier for residents to do what they need to do so a public safety officer doesn’t have to issue a summons,” said Hayduk.
The installation of the new cameras will begin within the month and should take six to eight months to complete, with different sections of the property being done at once. The investment in the cameras, Moya said, is due to the fact that technology has come a long way since new cameras were put in only seven years ago. It is also part of a safety campaign, which began last spring with assigning of public safety officers to specific areas on the property and ditching their SUVs.