City gives stink-eye to Boerum eye in the sky

City gives stink-eye to Boerum eye in the sky
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A group of would-be crimefighters in Boerum Hill want to become Big Brother — but city bureaucrats are standing in their way.

Anne Lytle and Rich Rollison are trying to install a surveillance camera on a light pole on their Warren Street block to thwart drug dealing and vandalism, but even though their plan has the blessing of police and the support of a local councilman, all they have gotten from the city is radio silence.

“I got the camera and figured that would be the hardest part, but getting someone to install it is when things got complicated,” said Lytle, whose leafy block between Nevins and Bond streets has been prone to bouts of car break-ins and muggings.

The pair say they need to mount the camera on a light pole because most houses on the street are set back behind trees — allowing for too many blind spots if the camera were installed on a private residence.

“I didn’t get it for me and my house, but for the safety of my neighbors,” said Lytle, who won a grant from the Boerum Hill Association and the Hoyt Street Association to acquire the $900 camera more than a year ago.

But the Department of Transportation, which maintains light poles, denied their request.

A spokeswoman for the department said that the city doesn’t “allow private entities to attach this type of equipment to city property.”

Several years ago, the NYPD installed a similar camera on a different light pole on their block — a device that helped solve the murder of a 16-year-old girl who was gunned down in 2010.

Local police and Councilman Steve Levin (D-Boerum Hill) are fans of Lytle and Rollison’s new camera plan, saying they’ve contacted the Department of Transportation, but haven’t gotten anywhere.

“The cameras are a necessity,” said neighbor Marc Tremitiere. “If there are eyes where we don’t have eyes, let’s get them up. Why is this so impossible?”

Residents say a camera would keep the block, which is on the border of the 76th and 84th precincts, from feeling like a no-man’s land.

“We’re wasting time not getting them installed,” Rollison said. “We hear guns shooting.”

Boerum Hill resident Rich Rollison has tried to get this security camera installed on a light pole in his neighborhood, but the city has ignored his request.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham