Council Member Ben Kallos, NYPD 19th Precinct Commander Kathleen Walsh, and representatives from the community gathered this breezy, but gorgeous morning alongside the East River at 63rd Street to announce the installation of high tech "ARGUS" security cameras on the East River Esplanade, and along East 86th Street. The cameras, which cost $35,000 each, utilize several cameras usually housed in a white metal box generally attached to light poles, are high definition, can see 360 degrees, and can be accessed by the NYPD on any type of device real-time. The installation of the ARGUS cameras is intended to deter crime, and to provide more far reaching and clearer imaging to help identify perps when a crime has been committed.
The East River Esplanade will see several of the surveillance cameras blanket the newly renovated waterfront between 64th and 70th streets, an area that despite its new found elegance, attracts a fair amount of homeless and is nearly impossible to reach with a squad car. Rockefeller University, which has been active in the funding of the Esplanade renovation, will pay for two of the cameras built into their new River Campus building, covering from 64th to 68th Street, while Kallos' office and Rock U will fund the $90,000 cost of a fiber optic network to connect the cameras to the NYPD systems.
East 86th Street will have the new cameras near the 86th Street and 83rd Street Q train subway entrances, the East 86th and Lexington Avenue subway entrances and in between at East 86th Street and Third Avenue. Commanding Officer Kathleen Walsh from the 19th Precinct noted that despite all of the cameras maintained by retail businesses along East 86th Street, most of those cameras are pointed inward towards the businesses and not towards the street. Walsh believes that the new cameras will be a big help both in deterrence and in helping identify criminals that the 19th already has a fantastic track record of tracking down (just see their Twitter feed @nypd19th). With high tech images, rather than grainy blobs to work with, it only seems logical that this deployment will take a bite out of crime in the area. As author of this article, and a member of the Board of the East 86th Street Association, I can tell you that these new cameras are immensely appreciated and necessary. We are thrilled to have them!
One additional camera will be installed at 75th Street and First Avenue to combat regular complaints of a "drunken singing homeless person". That sure sounds like an article unto itself!
For full video of today's announcement, see Ben Kallos on YouTube.