NYC School Security Camera Crisis
NEW YORK — August 24, 2018
In less than two weeks, the school year begins in American schools. A million New York City children will return to their books and homework... meanwhile the State Legislature was unable to keep its surveillance camera program running.
Have the authorities the largest city in America failed to take proper steps to ensure students safety?
A one-speed camera was found near the near the Razi School in the Woodside section of Queens is credited with a 60 percent reduction in speed on the stretch of Queens Boulevard since it’s installation.
“Those cameras are a way of saving lives, being a preventive measure in saving children and adults as well,” Razi School director Imani Moore said.
In 2013, Sonia Russo’s 4-year-old daughter Ariel was killed while walking to her daycare. The tragedy was one of several cases that led to a camera enforcement test program.
City officials credit the devices with decreasing speeding violations in school zones. According to officials, in areas where the cameras have been placed, speeding has gone down 60 percent.
“Right now, compared to last year, we are at 22 fewer fatalities, which is a pretty, pretty dramatic place to be,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
But this week, a speed gun revealed that plenty of people are still speeding, including one driver going 35 mph, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported. Advocates said it’s because drivers allegedly knew the cameras were shut off.
“We need this program to be restored,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.
John Flanagan, the Long Island Republican who controls the state Senate, said he is willing to restore the program, but Democrats want to expand it, double the number of schools covered and make the cameras run 24-7, instead of only during school hours.
When CBS2’s Aiello asked Van Bramer if he agreed with Flanagan about restoring the existing program, he said, “I’m saying at a bare minimum, right?”
He then looked over to a safe streets activist and took his comment back.
“Let me be very clear: I believe this program should be expanded,” Van Bramer said.
The Senate promises that the New York police presence will be increased to track speeding. Some members of the City Council said they want more radar signs telling drivers they’re speeding. There’s even a proposal to ban cars on some streets near schools.
The city does not plan to remove the “Speed Photo Enforced” signs, even though as of Aug. 31 every camera will be turned off, Aiello reported.
The issue is not only about the surveillance cameras, although they are one important aspect of student’s safety. How about setting up surveillance cameras on school property and finally starting to check students for weapons? School shootings are on the rise, and safety is an issue that needs to be addressed inside and outside the classroom.
The authorities have repeatedly stated that the situation is under control, but in fact, nothing is being done on a structural level.