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City Island cameras let you dine in peace

Bronx Times

Smile, you soon could be on City Island camera.

The island community has a powerful new weapon to deal with street crime and vandalism, especially as throngs of visitors stream onto the island during the warmer weather.

Fifteen new security cameras are being installed this month, mostly along the commercial City Island Avenue corridor.

Community leaders and businesspeople gathered at City Island Avenue and Bridge Street April 12 to announce the program, funded with a $100,000 grant secured by state Senator Jeff Klein to the City Island Chamber of Commerce,

The cameras will be placed in strategic - but secret - locations all over the island, said Chamber president Gerard Giacco, and will record in the evening hours onto a hard disk that will only be accessible to the chamber and the police should a crime occur.

“If something happens, and we get a report, then we look at the video,” Giacco said. “It will roll over every 60 days. If some graffiti appears, or a car window is broken, then the 45th Precinct can take a look at it. Otherwise, it goes away.”

Some have expressed opinion that the videos should be public viewing for everyone.

The security cameras, which will record to a central location, will be a boon to the safety and soundness of the island community, Giacco said.

Senator Klein said he wished that people lived in a world where such cameras were not necessary, but that they might have a “chilling effect” on local troublemakers.

“While City Island is a small community, they have suffered from vandalism, particularly on vacant properties.” he said. “Before a vandal strikes again, they better think twice, or risk getting caught on film.”

Placing the cameras around the island helps local law enforcement and serves as a deterrent to crime, Klein said.

The cameras should not be viewed an invasion of anyone’s privacy, said City Island Civic Association vice-president Barbara Dolensek, adding that “Big Brother” concerns raised by some in the island community are unfounded,

Resident Roberto Soto, who has his own unrelated camera project that has footage of City Island Avenue at the “City Island Images” website (www.ciamges.me), believes that the footage should be shared for all to see, a sentiment not shared by the City Island Chamber of Commerce.

People are videotaped all over the city and elsewhere and don’t feel violated, and visitors to the island will feel safer, said Mike Carew, owner of Captain Mike’s Diving at 530 City Island Avenue.

City Island Civic Association president Bill Stanton said that the cameras will help, but the community must remain vigilant.

“While we strongly believe that these cameras will deter crime, the strongest deterrent against crime will be the awareness and good will of City Islanders,” Stanton said.

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