City gives stink-eye to Boerum eye in the sky

The Brooklyn Paper
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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.”

Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Ted from Carroll Gardens says:
The use of surveillance cameras in a public area is a long existing Constitutional question. Does the government have the right to track your movements, observe you without your knowledge, etc. Generally these extraordinary powers are only available if a judge allows it, and the power can only be granted to the government. So the DOT is correct in their position since the article makes it sound like a private citizen is trying to put in a surveillance camera in a public area. And who is going to be watching, how will video records be used, etc. If this is being done with the cooperation of the police, they must be the ones to purchase, install, and operate the camera. That's the law, and the Councilman should know this.
Jan. 30, 2012, 11:49 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
And what have we learned by this experience? Next time, DON'T ASK. Do you think the DOT would be smart enough to know that the camera wasn't theirs or the NYPD's?

Uhhhmmmmm, no!
Jan. 30, 2012, 12:38 pm
K. from ArKady says:
What are you gonna do with a picture of some hood breaking into your car or smoking meth? Frame it? Make wallet sized prints to hand out to friends and family? Maybe you should turn on the television set; you'll be shocked by what ordinary people will happily do in front of a camera.

Or are you trying to prove, like bigfoot or ufos, that crime exists in Brooklyn? Hey, I think it does, and the police know it too. Getting them to do something about it is another matter entirely. Copious documentation is not the solution.
Jan. 30, 2012, 1:53 pm
Fuzzbee from Prospect height says:
HAHAHA!! anyone does know the truth that THERE IS NO BIG FEET in history! what is he a jerk? an even if a bigfoot alive around here he wouldnt live around here they are liking WARM AIR!!!!
Jan. 30, 2012, 4:45 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Imagine their shock and amazement when someone steals the camera...
Jan. 30, 2012, 7:20 pm
michael from rappa says:
not sure why anyone would waste $900 on a camera. must have $ to burn. contact community affairs, group your neighbors together, create a petition, and pressure local law enforcement to start solving these problems. additionally, a camera is not going to prevent any crimes from being committed ... a patrolman on the other hand will ... or one of those nypd portable towers, which they roll into high crime neighborhoods all the time. take the appropriate route, get to the destination quickly and without hassle. get people involved and get safer.
Jan. 30, 2012, 8:13 pm
Moses from Park Slope says:
How is this story different from the brooklyn paper's earlier version:
Jan. 30, 2012, 8:34 pm
johnnyboy from windorterrace says:
K.from ArKady.

I had a video camera installed on my window frame and captured a family man being assaulted by a dirt bag skateboarder,it was given to the cops who arrested the punk, who is now sitting in a cell at Rikers.
Jan. 30, 2012, 9 pm
Lois Carsbad from PPW says:
Louise Hainline put a spycam in my third floor window, and all we captured was 1000s of cyclists riding by everyday. Even little kids! I never!
Jan. 30, 2012, 11:57 pm
fatimah from cobble hill says:
Meet my deputy, Barney Fife.
Jan. 31, 2012, 5:44 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
I see this as the 21st-century version of the neighborhood watch. Few people have disputes with the latter: why shouldn't people who live in a neighborhood keep an eye on their own property and the property of their neighbors? But when we displace that duty to cameras, some people freak out; Government employees especially freak out, because they're accustomed to the monopoly of information their roles have traditionally afforded them.

But we are entering a new time when citizens have as much material access to the tools of surveillance as those government employees have/had. That is, regular people can take matters into their own hands because the government either can't or doesn't care. That's an exceptional and important shift in the balance of power.

There is an age-old question of "who watches the watchers?" What if it's us? What if we can both watch the watchers and those who would commit petty vandalism? What if we can both observe, record, and take action ourselves?

It's something that has profound implications for the shape of our society, played out here in the microcosm. I watch with interest, and with popcorn.
Jan. 31, 2012, 11:19 am
K. from Arkady says:
Ooh Fatimah, you dirty islamic tramp! And Betty too!
Feb. 1, 2012, 10:26 am
Fatimah from Cobble Hill says:
If you're going to tape this street, you'd better be ready to see what goes on. My sister and I frequently walk this way, and we both suffer from a particular form on vaginal overheating which only plagues excessively hairy women. The result is extreme genital sweating and itch. The only way we cope is by frequently airing our honey holes and scratching like crazy. The fact that you want to film this and then send it along only convinces me that you are some type of pornography obsessed misogynist. Yes, we're muslim, and yes our honey holes are burning - but does that give you the right to film us and then masturbate with the tapes?
Feb. 2, 2012, 6:13 am

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