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De Blasio: Red tape stalled public housing security cams

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gestures

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gestures as he presents the 2015 city budget at City Hall in Manhattan on May 8, 2014. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

The New York City Housing Authority should have installed security cameras in its buildings as soon as it received the funding but instead was "sitting on the money for a variety of reasons," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

De Blasio's criticism of the agency comes as police search for a suspect in the stabbings of two children, one fatally, Sunday at the Boulevard Houses in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood. There is no video footage of the attack to aid police in their investigation because no cameras were installed at the public housing complex despite allotted funds.

De Blasio, speaking at an unrelated news conference in Ridgewood, Queens, blamed the delay on "unacceptable bureaucracy" that began under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and continued in his own administration.

He said he has taken immediate action, putting out the order to cut through red tape and speed up the approval process. "The buck stops with me," de Blasio said. "And I've ordered all these cameras put in place this year."

About $27 million has been stuck in the pipeline for cameras and other security measures, such as solid steel doors and improved intercom systems, and about 49 NYCHA developments will benefit, de Blasio said.

NYCHA, in a statement, responded, "We're committed to executing the Mayor's plan to accelerate approvals, and we will also work to expedite much-needed security upgrades, meeting newly announced timelines."

Prince Joshua Avitto, 6, was killed in the Friday stabbing attack. His friend, Mikayla Capers, 7, is recovering at a hospital.

Police have circulated a sketch of a suspect but said they have made no arrests.

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