Wiring work began Wednesday for the installation of 17 security cameras in the Brooklyn public housing complex where a 6-year-old boy was fatally stabbed and 7-year-old girl seriously injured earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The City Council had allocated $27 million last July for surveillance equipment there and at 48 other New York City Housing Authority developments, but the installations had been held up by red tape.
"We've all been taught a very, very painful lesson, but we have to take that moment and now act and rise above," de Blasio said a news conference at Boulevard Houses in East New York. "We owe it to these children. We owe it to the families."
The lack of cameras complicated the NYPD's search for the man who stabbed the children -- Prince James Avitto, who was killed, and Mikayla Capers, who was released from the hospital Wednesday -- on June 1 as they set out for ice cream. A grand jury Wednesday indicted Daniel St. Hubert, 27, on charges that include second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder. He is being held without bail.
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer's office in the past week helped expedite the review and approval of 46 contracts for cameras at 49 housing developments, and the installation across the city should be complete by year's end, de Blasio said.
At Wednesday's news conference, former Councilman Charles Barron cited a typical slow rollout in the past: funding for cameras at East New York's Pink Houses was approved in 2009 but the cameras weren't installed until last year.
The Boulevard Houses' camera network should be finished by October, NYCHA general manager Cecil House said. The development is home to about 3,100 people.
Residents were saddened that it took a child's death to spur officials to action, but applauded the mayor's recent efforts.
"We need to do better than this," said Boulevard Houses tenants' associate president Inez Rodriguez, who has lived in the complex for 40 years. "We shouldn't be suffering just to get to this point."
Aricka McClinton, mother of Prince James, known as PJ, attended the news conference, but did not speak with reporters.With Alison Fox