SRHA calls on police chief to address violence

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett has been invited to address the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority board on security camera placement and other security measures in the city’s public housing complexes.

The invitation was extended after authority commissioners discussed how to tackle violence in public housing during a board meeting Monday.

“We reviewed the security measures that are being considered and are underway, such as security doors and security cameras and consultation with security experts,” board Chairman Branch Lawson said.

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Commissioners are apparently moving to help stem violence after the third murder in three years at the Cypress Manor complex, which sits directly next to another public housing estate, Parker Riddick, occurred at the end of June.

While critics say Cypress Manor needs its own onsite manager, Clarissa McAdoo, the authority’s executive director, says a shared manager was not around when the three shootings occurred in the early morning.

Lawson described a “good discussion” at Monday’s board meeting “on what else we can do to enhance security in the different communities.”

“We decided to invite the chief of police to come and talk to us at the next (board) meeting,” he said. “We figured it’s best to get some advice from experts.”

Grant money will be used to install security cameras at Cypress Manor, Lawson said. “Before the cameras go in, we want to make sure we are consulting with the appropriate experts to make sure they are in the right places to pick up the maximum exposure, to try to keep out blind spots,” he added.

“You’ve got a sprawling community, and it’s not an easy task.”

Lawson said he hadn’t heard any calls for an onsite manager at Cypress Manor.

“We can just do our best,” he said.

Every board member spoke at the meeting on the issue of security, Lawson said.

“There was quite a lot of discussion,” he said. “It was brought up that it made a whole lot of sense to ask the police to come in.”

The security doors Lawson cited will be installed at the administrative offices “with funding to be determined,” and “as an eligible capital improvement only in the Hoffler Apartment community” with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant, McAdoo stated.