By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Message to a thief: Before you go to pick that person’s pocket on 86th Street, be aware that Big Brother will be watching you.
The New York Police Department is installing 11 new ARGUS security cameras along the 86th Street shopping area in Bensonhurst and in other sections of southern Brooklyn, thanks to $400,000 in funding obtained by Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr.
Recchia (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said the 11 new cameras will supplement the existing seven ARGUS cameras that are already up and operating in his council district. The word ARGUS is from Greek mythology. He depicted as a giant with 100 eyes who could watch over a wide area.
The first nine new cameras will be installed at the following locations: 86th Street and 25th Avenue; 86th Street and 23rd Avenue; 86th Street and Bay Parkway; 86th Street and 20th Avenue; McDonald Avenue and Kings Highway; Mermaid Avenue and West 24th Street; Stillwell Avenue and Benson Avenue; Avenue W and West 11th Street; and Neptune Avenue and West 8th Street.
“It gives an added security to the community,” Recchia told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on May 30. The NYPD on the locations, using as its criteria places deemed to be at risk for crime. “This is a highly populated shopping area. A lot can happen here,” Recchia said as he spoke to a reporter on the corner of 86th Street and 23rd Avenue Thursday morning.
The NYPD’s anti-terrorism task force was also consulted on the locations, Recchia said. “I didn’t pick the spots,” said Recchia, chairman of the council’s Finance Committee. “My job as Finance Committee chair is to get the money to do this. After that, I leave it up to the experts. The NYPD knows more than I do about fighting crime,” he said.
Recchia said he hopes residents will feel safer knowing the cameras are there. “These cameras will provide much-needed surveillance capabilities to areas of my district in need of heightened security,” he said.
But residents shouldn’t look for the cameras right away. The installations in Recchia’s district will take place over a three-year period.
The 11 cameras going up in Recchia’s district are part of a massive security effort involving a roll-out of 640 cameras throughout the city,
Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) announced that the NYPD has approved two locations for the camera installations in his district; Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue and 76th Street in Bay Ridge.
Gentile, a member of the council’s Committee on Public Safety, allocated funding in last year’s City budget for the surveillance cameras.
“These state-of-the-art cameras will significantly enhance the crime-fighting efforts on our streets,” Gentile said. “There is no disputing that surveillance cameras are extremely important in this day and age and have completely revolutionized the way crimes are solved, so this site approval by the NYPD is a big step towards making our streets safer,” he said.