New York – After many months of negotiations between and among the New York State Empire Development Corporation (ESDC), SecureWatch24 (SW24), JPMorgan Chase Bank, the New York City Police Department, the New York City Transportation Department (DOT), Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s office and Agudath Israel of America, approximately 80 strategically placed security cameras are scheduled to be installed throughout Borough Park and Flatbush. The first cameras are slated to go up this week.
This security initiative – named for Leiby Kletzky a”h, the eight year old slain on his way home from day camp – was the result of a state grant facilitated by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind. The role of Agudath Israel is to administer the project and act as fiscal agent between the state funding authority (ESDC) and the vendor (SW24).
Mr. Dovid Tanenbaum, of Agudath Israel’s Yeshiva Services Division, is the project administrator. Mr. Dov Cohen of Assemblyman Hikind’s staff coordinated the lengthy process of bringing all the parties together.
When asked to explain exactly how this project will work, Mr. Tanenbaum responded by clearing up some misinformation that has appeared in the press. “First of all, no one will monitor these cameras on a live feed. If and when a crime is reported, or a person is reported missing, then the police, and only the police, will have immediate access to the recorded data. Secondly, at no time will anyone from Agudath Israel or Mr. Hikind’s staff be directly involved in viewing the images recorded by the cameras. This is the job of the police, not amateurs.”
The Agudath Israel Official said that the project will enhance the security of two neighborhoods, Borough Park and Flatbush, with high concentrations of visibly identifiable Jews – people who are especially vulnerable to anti-Semitic attacks on the streets of New York, including the recent phenomenon of ‘knockouts’.
There are high hopes that additional state and local legislators will follow Mr. Skelos and Mr. Hikind’s example and expand the area covered by security cameras.
Said Mr. Tanenbaum, “Our hope is that the presence of these cameras, and the widespread knowledge of their existence, will serve first as a deterrent to criminals and delinquents; and second, will assist the police in apprehending anyone who was not deterred.”