Long Beach seeks federal grant for security cameras at housing complex

Children play outside the Channel Park Homes in Children play outside the Channel Park Homes in Long Beach Thursday Aug 14, 2014. Senator Charles Schumer is seeking federal grants from HUD to install security cameras trying to bring down the crime rate that has affected the homes recently. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

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The Long Beach Housing Authority is seeking federal grants to add security cameras at a troubled city housing development.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide $250,000 to the housing authority and the Channel Park Public Housing Development on Centre Street, near the North Park neighborhood.

The city requested Schumer's help for the apartment complex, which has been rife with violence and crime in the past year. Since October, police have been called to Channel Park more than 80 times, Schumer said.

Surveillance cameras paid for with funds from the HUD Emergency Safety and Security grant would be a deterrent for crime and help police better patrol the neighborhood, Schumer said in an interview.

"While Long Beach is relatively safe, if you let crime fester, it only gets worse," Schumer said.

Police have been called to the complex for burglaries, assaults, and drug use and sales, housing authority officials said. Many of the issues were reported in the commons area at Channel Park.

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In November, community members held a unity vigil after police said an Inwood man was injured in a shooting and found among 30 shell casings north of the complex. Another person was shot and injured near the apartments in June, and a teen was mauled by two pit bulls in March, according to the housing authority.

In recent months, the authority has installed security lights, and a building intercom and access system. Officials have also held meetings with residents and police to address concerns, according to a grant application by Executive Director Paul Goodman.

"In spite of our efforts we have not been able to stem the tide of criminal and drug related activities that continue to create emergency circumstances and threaten the safety and security of our residents," Goodman's letter said.

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The grant funding would add lighting and a computer system as well as cameras to "monitor, prosecute and prevent crime and drug activity," Goodman wrote.

Schumer said surveillance cameras at public housing in Manhattan and other locations have reduced crime and aided police.

"Cameras are a great prophylactic against crime. They let police put resources where they're needed," he said. "Without paying a police officer, it puts extra eyes on the street."

Schumer said the housing authority's application will be processed over the next few months.

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