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NYPD cameras installed near jogger killing site, officials say

A recently installed NYPD security camera is seen

A recently installed NYPD security camera is seen on 83rd Street next to Spring Creek Park in the Howard Beach section of Queens, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. Credit: Charles Eckert

Eight NYPD security cameras have been placed in Howard Beach on the perimeter of Spring Creek Park, where jogger Karina Vetrano was slain earlier this month, officials said Wednesday.

The cameras, which are spread out over about a mile of roadway on the western edge of the Queens neighborhood, were installed earlier this week and are aimed to provide coverage of the federal parkland border, said a spokeswoman for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

The Howard Beach cameras are part of a 34-camera installation, funded earlier this year with $1.2 million, said the spokeswoman Sharon Lee. The other cameras are being placed in other parts of Queens. The new Howard Beach cameras are on city roadways, not on actual park property, and some think it could help to calm fears since Vetrano’s killing.

“There is no doubt in my mind that these cameras are going to save lives and help restore a sense of security for the residents of the community who are still in shock over this heinous crime,” said city Councilman Eric A. Ulrich (R-Queens).

“Borough President Katz was pleased to provide the funds, and is grateful to the NYPD for being responsive and considering our request,” Lee said in a statement.

Daphne Yun, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said the agency was exploring placing cameras in Spring Creek Park and other area parklands.

News of the camera installation heartened Vetrano’s family, which, through a GoFundMe campaign, is offering a $200,000 reward [the city is offering a separate $35,000] for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

“That is good,” said Catherine Vetrano, the victim’s mother.

Katz had signaled earlier this month at a community meeting after Vetrano’s death that she would be pushing to get the cameras placed by the park. Because Spring Creek Park is part of a federally managed wetlands, the city has no cameras on the actual park property.

After the 30-year-old Vetrano was killed Aug. 2 while jogging through the park, police scrambled to obtain private video surveillance images from homes and businesses in Howard Beach. But a review of the videos obtained by police didn’t find anyone of interest entering or leaving the park through the neighborhood at the time of the homicide, police said.

Running into dead ends in Howard Beach, NYPD detectives have shifted part of the focus in the homicide case to the northern edge of the park along a bike and jogging path which runs westward into Brooklyn. Officials said it was unclear if any new cameras would be deployed along the northern park perimeter.

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