NYCHA Seniors React to Planned Unarmed Security Cut

With two weeks left until NYCHA plans to eliminate its security program at senior buildings, tenants weigh in on their safety needs.

Adi Talwar

The lobby of NYCHA’s Vandalia Houses in Brooklyn, one of dozens of senior public housing buildings expected to lose its unarmed security program at the end of June.

Terry Campuzano, tenant association president at Meltzer Tower, a 20-story senior building in Lower Manhattan, wants to expand security guard service hours at his complex.

Following a May 7 budget hearing, Campuzano told City Limits that he’s noticed non-residents following New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) workers into the building, using bottle caps and spaghetti sauce cans to prop open the lobby door.

There are security cameras all over the building, he said, but no one monitors them, and the intercom system is broken. “People are afraid because they have roaming kids coming in the building,” he added. A security guard is stationed at the development daily from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m, but Campuzano wants to see daytime hours covered as well.

But rather than expanding security coverage, NYCHA is on the cusp of eliminating it. On June 30, NYCHA says it will be suspending its unarmed security service at its 55 senior buildings, a subset of the authority’s 2,411-building portfolio. Most of these senior buildings currently have security for one eight-hour shift each day, according to NYCHA. 

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