2016-10-19 / Front Page

Eye On Safety At Queens Library Branches

By Liz Goff
Three additional western Queens library branches have been equipped with security cameras to ensure they remain safe havens for patrons, young and old, library officials said.

As part of $400,000 in funding recently secured by City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the Corona, Langston Hughes and East Elmhurst Queens Library branches have been equipped with multiple security cameras that will monitor activities both inside and outside the branches.

Queens Library president Dennis Walcott last week joined Ferraris-Copeland at the Corona branch to announce installation of the closed-circuit security systems. The cameras provide high-definition footage that will be monitored by library security teams on mobile phones and tablets, Walcott said. The system stores footage for 30 days for use by the NYPD, fire, and law enforcement officials for investigation of illegal activities.

“We need to be able to make sure that when we provide these safe havens for young people, for our seniors, for someone seeking a job or for anyone, that they can feel safe,” Ferreras-Copeland said.

Former City Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr. secured funding for the first library security system in western Queens in March 2012, after a 10-year-old girl was assaulted inside a library branch in his Astoria district.

Vallone called on stare legislators, following the Astoria assault and attacks on several young girls at the Flushing and Pomonok library branches, to ban registered sex offenders from entering the Children’s section at all library branches – an extension of a law banning child sex offenders from entering schools and school playgrounds.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assenblymember Aravella Simotas responded to the attacks by introducing legislation to increase the charge of Forcible Touching of a Child from a misdemeanor to a felony count, to increase penalties faced by child sex predators.

“The problem is real, and it’s happening where parents trust their kids will be safe,” Vallone said. “Child reading rooms should be off-limits for sexual predators.”

More than 1,100 security cameras will be installed at 44 Queens Library branches by the end of 2016,” Walcott said.

Funding for the yet-to-be-installed cameras was secured by Ferreras-Copeland, who chairs the City Council Finance committee.





















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