Cameras will bring improved security to the district

New York, NY – City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Member Debi Rose, New York State Senator Diane Savino, Assemblyman Matthew Titone and community members today announced the completed installation of 17 security cameras in the Business Corridor of Port Richmond, Staten Island. The community sprung into action in response to a string of hate crimes that plagued the area last year. The I AM SI coalition was formed and presented a 10 point plan to forge critical partnerships with Staten Island leaders and community based organizations to combat hatred and violence on Staten Island. As a result, the Department of Transportation increased street lighting around Port Richmond, created a network of ‘safe zones’, organized youth athletic programs, held interfaith services and formed a youth leadership team within the community.

Throughout the Business Corridor, the New York Police Department Crime Prevent Unit and the New York City Council identified areas that would need security cameras for increased monitoring. The 17 cameras were installed throughout the Port Richmond Business Corridor and a Safe Zone program was implemented and continues to grow in the area with close to 40 local businesses and community based organizations joining the effort. When a business owner places a “Safe Zone” decal in their window it signals to the community that the business welcomes customers of all backgrounds and that anyone who feels unsafe in the neighborhood can take refuge in that establishment.

These efforts were initiated by the I AM SI coalition comprised of Make the Road New York, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation, NAACP, Project Hospitality, El Centro and Northfield CLDC.

“The Council is proud to have worked with the Port Richmond community to have these cameras installed and contribute to the safety of residents and businesses of Staten Island.” said Speaker Quinn. “Over a year ago we witnessed painful and harmful bias attacks. Together, we have worked to move beyond those hateful acts and today we take this important step in securing safer streets. I thank everyone who was a part of this effort.”

“One year ago, Port Richmond residents and merchants expressed the need for increased safety measures,” said Council Member Rose. “Through the collaborative efforts and leadership of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Richmond County Savings Foundation, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and the many organizations that are a part of the I AM SI initiative, the merchants and shoppers along the Port Richmond Business Corridor feel a lot safer now that the new cameras are in place and the Safe Zone program is up and running.”

The cameras were funded through a $20,000 donation from the Richmond County Savings Foundation and were distributed in collaboration with the New York City Council Public Private Partnership and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. Most businesses that received cameras received one outdoor camera, one indoor camera, a DVR recorder and monitor. All were installed by a local Staten Island alarm company. Businesses receiving the hardware signed an agreement that they were to provide any footage to the NYPD to assist in the investigation of a crime if they were instructed.

“The Richmond County Savings Foundation is proud to be a part of such a successful program,” said Cesar Claro from the Richmond County Savings Foundation.

“Led by Councilwomen Rose and Speaker Quinn, business and community leaders refused to let our residents and our reputation take a beating,” said “Senator Diane Savino “This summer was much more safe and secure in Port Richmond, business benefitted, residents benefited and most importantly, Staten Island got to show its true face, a place to do enjoy our streets, our shopping and our parks without fear.”
“The installation of the cameras are part of a comprehensive safety plan for the area and is a fine example of government, the private sector and the community coming together to solve a problem,” Assemblymember Matthew Titone. “I am grateful to the Richmond County Savings Foundation for the funding of this project and to the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and I AM Staten Island for working diligently to have these cameras installed and the Safe Zone plan implemented. The business owners who are participating in this program and have attended trainings to become safe zones refuges for anyone who feels threatened also deserve our gratitude. This plan is an important step in ensuring that Port Richmond residents and shoppers feel safe and that the community is able to grow and thrive as a business district on Staten Island.”

“The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce was pleased to be a partner in this initiative. A safe environment is an important component to a thriving business district. I commend Speaker Quinn for working with our elected representatives and community partners to implement this vital plan,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

“As we enter the early darkness of the winter season, Port Richmond residents are even more aware of the key safety features made possible by Speaker Quinn, Councilmember Rose and a host of community leaders,” said Reverend Terry Troia, Executive Director of Project Hospitality. We now have a new level of protection in our neighborhood: bright street lights, surveillance cameras and bi lingual safety zone signs in all of our businesses opening the door to provide safety and help.”

“We applaud the leadership of Speaker Quinn, Councilmember Rose and the Richmond County Saving’s Foundation for taking concrete steps to make the community a safer place for everyone,” said Ana Maria Archila, Exective Director of Make the Road New York. “Since last summer, our community continues to work together to address the underlying causes of violence.”

“With the cameras up and the Safe Zone program expanding, Port Richmond is a better place for everyone,” said Gonzalo Mercado, President and CEO from El Centro NYC. “We look forward to continue collaborating with our partners and our neighbors”

The spring and summer of 2010 saw the Port Richmond section of Staten Island being overrun by violence that has been perceived as hate crimes,” said Ed Josey, President of the Staten Island Branch of the NAACP. “This negative has been turned into something positive. We have the cameras on Port Richmond Avenue, Midnight Basketball, Friend ship dinners and much more. The cameras are very important as they have borough a huge feeling of safety to the community. Those walking and shopping in the area feel save and the many store owners feel save as the conduct their business.”

After a string of hate crimes in the spring of 2010 in Staten Island, Councilwoman Debi Rose formed the I AM SI coalition. Through this coalition a safety plan was created to combat such crimes and increase safety in the area. With the implementation of these security cameras, criminals who are caught committing a crime in Port Richmond will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The plan created critical partnerships with Staten Island elected officials, local business leaders, neighborhood associations and citizen groups