Members of a Bronx family in public housing that was trying to fight crime with private security cameras say they have been victimized after city officials forced them to remove the cameras. NY1's Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed this follow-up report.
The personal security cameras David Morales left on the second floor of his building at the Parkside Houses in the Bronxdale section of the Bronx are now gone.
"It's kind of bad because I did it for safety for my family and the people on my floor, and they were happy they were there," said Morales. "And actually, since I took them down, they come back and say, 'Why did you take them down?'"
Morales said the city threatened his family with eviction if they stayed up. So this week, he removed the cameras that he bought for about $300 this summer.
He said his plan was to deter any sort of criminal activity.
"There were no any elected officials coming to my side to actually say 'We support this.' So it was a point where the residents are happy, but that's not enough," said Morales.
He put the cameras up after an 88-year-old woman was killed inside her apartment at the nearby Pelham Parkway houses in June. No one has been arrested in that case.
City Councilman James Vacca said the New York City Housing Authority was off-base forcing Morales to take down his cameras.
"What this family did with the security cameras should be a wake-up call to the housing authority," said Vacca. "Tenants have had it with the crime, the drugs, the gangs, with the violence that is often the rule, not the exception in many of our public housing developments."
NYCHA officials said they cannot have tenants installing equipment on hallway walls, and that there is a concern about the privacy of other tenants.
Some tenants, however, were willing to give up complete privacy for increased safety.
"You will have people that will think it is an invasion of privacy even though it is outside their door. But I see his point, because everything is on cameras now," said a local resident.
"They should mind their business and let everybody put a camera in there. Every building around here needs security," said another.
NYCHA officials said they have not received funding from elected officials to install cameras at the Parkside Houses.
Morales said since he had to take his cameras down, he hopes the city will now cough up the money to install its own.