By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If you’re walking down the street in Borough Park or Midwood, be aware that Big Brother is watching you.
On Wednesday, Assemblyman Dov Hikind unveiled a new, $1 million state-of-the-art system of surveillance cameras that are aimed at the sidewalks and streets and are designed to increase the safety of residents of Borough Park and Midwood.
The cameras, which are funded by Hikind (Borough Park-Midwood), have been placed at several locations within the two communities. Hikind and other officials witnessed a live demonstration of the cameras in operation by SecureWatch24, the company hired to install and monitor the devices.
The demonstration took place on the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue J in Midwood.
Hikind said he decided to create the security camera program in memory of Leiby Kletzky, the 9-year-old boy who was abducted while walking down on a Borough Park street and killed in 2011.
The project has been dubbed “The Leiby Kletzky Security Initiative.”
Nachman Kletzky, the child’s father, released a statement praising the new security system. “God runs the world. But we also have to do our part to protect each other. When we suffered our tragedy, video cameras helped us learn of our child’s fate. Now, with God’s help, these new cameras will help protect our community a little better,” Kletzky stated. “It’s an honor that this security initiative was started in my son’s name.”
“The pilot program places high-tech security cameras in strategic places throughout our community allowing for a wide blanket of surveillance,” Hikind said. “The new security-surveillance system that we are now putting in place will not only decrease the chances of outside attacks, but it will also enormously enhance law enforcement’s ability to solve and prevent local crimes. If any person were to go missing, God forbid, we will have exponentially increased the ability to locate and recover that person. If there’s an assault on someone in our community, we will have increased our chances of catching the criminal.”
“Some have questioned the need for these high-tech surveillance cameras in the community,” said state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park), who joined Hikind for the demonstration. “My response to the naysayers is that we must assist law enforcement in doing everything humanly possible to prevent terrorism and other crimes against New Yorkers.”
“Providing safety to New York’s residents is a key concern that all of us share, and when it comes to crime, security cameras are a proven deterrent,” Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (Midwood-Sheepshead Bay) said.
Working with the New York Police Department and community leaders, Hikind identified key locations throughout the Borough Park and Midwood communities that would offer the broadest surveillance coverage. The sites include commercial districts, schools and institutions, as well as residential areas.
The coverage area is bounded by 60th Street to McDonald Avenue and Ninth Avenue to 20th Avenue in Borough Park; and McDonald Avenue to Ocean Avenue and Foster Avenue to Avenue R in Midwood.
The security system consists of 80 units containing four cameras each, for a total of 320 cameras.
“This is a historical moment for our community,” said Hikind who added that state Sen. Dean Skelos, majority leader of the New York State Senate, helped secure the funds for the security cameras.