Starlight Park


Friday, September 1, 2017
No. 88

Bronx pilot program will make it easier for park goers to reach help in an emergency

NYC Parks and the New York City Police Department today announced the completion of Phase One of the Blue Lights Parks Safety Pilot Program. The program is designed to decrease response times to emergencies in parks. This project was announced by Mayor de Blasio at the May 22 town hall in the South Bronx. The Mayor pledged that the blue lights would be installed by the end of the summer.

With the completion of Phase One, 40 blue light emergency call boxes have been installed in four parks in the Bronx: Pugsley Creek Park; Soundview Park; Concrete Plant Park; and Starlight Park. The location of each box was determined based on information pooled from the NYPD and NYC Parks. A 911 call made from a blue light box will show the caller’s exact location inside the park, so officers can respond immediately.

Blue Lights Park Safety Pilot Phase One is funded by Councilmember Palma in the amount of $400,000.

“The Bronx has many sprawling, beautiful parks,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “While these are typically peaceful spaces, we want our park goers to be as safe as possible. It can be difficult for New Yorkers to accurately communicate their location to police when inside a big park, because there are no cross streets or landmarks to provide. These blue light boxes will send police the caller’s exact location so they can send help immediately.”

“Rapid advances in technology allow us to add new functions to be more responsive to New Yorkers and enhance their experience in public spaces,” said Miguel Gamiño Jr., Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York. “We look forward to continuing to work with Assembly Member Crespo, Council Member Palma, Borough President Diaz, NYPD and NYC Parks to pilot new technologies that provide better information about the environment in our parks while protecting privacy and security.”

"I am pleased to partner with Mayor de Blasio, Assembly Member Crespo, and the NYPD for the installation of a blue light system in Soundview Park. Under the cover of darkness, criminal activity tends to flourish; I believe equipping parks with emergency alarm stations will help reduce the opportunities for these crimes to take place. Bronxites deserve a right to safety and security in public spaces; this is but one step in the right direction toward achieving that objective," said Council Member Annabel Palma.

“Our community has some of the most beautiful parks and trails in the entire city,” said City Council Member Marcos Crespo. “Unfortunately, we have also experienced our fair share of safety concerns, which is why I'm grateful to Mayor de Blasio and my colleagues for supporting this innovative and comprehensive safety improvement project. The more we grow as a community and enhance our open spaces, the more it is our responsibility to also ensure that they are safe and welcoming for all visitors. The use of these blue light emergency towers, coupled with other safety measures will make our parks amongst the safest in NYC.”

"These 'blue lights' not only provide park users with an easy way to call 911 in the event of an emergency, they also have built in GPS capabilities that ensure that first responders will be able to locate exactly where the emergency call came from, making these four parks much safer," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "I hope we never have to use these phones, but if we do, we know we can feel a little safer, and our first responders can work more efficiently, thanks to this technology."

"This highly anticipated project goes a long way to increasing security at our city parks, which should always represent a safe haven for the residents they serve,” said New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein. “Following the tragic death of a teenager at Pugsley Creek Park, I made it a priority of mine to boost security at the waterfront recreational space. I’m proud to be able to team up with other elected officials to provide these call boxes not just at Pugsley Creek, but also Soundview, Starlight and Concrete Plant parks.”

“I am heartened that the city has come through on schedule to bring new safety to our wonderful parks, and am glad to have contributed funding for the project,” said Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda. “As officials promised, Phase One of installing 40 blue light emergency call boxes in four Bronx parks has been completed by the end of summer.”

This pilot program was a coordinated effort between the city and local elected officials and was created in response to the 2015 death of Christian Negron, who was attacked in Pugsley Creek Park and a 911 call lead officers to an inaccurate location.

Local elected officials worked hand in hand with the NYPD and Parks departments to determine locations for each of the blue light call boxes. The elected officials have partnered with the Mayor’s Office of the CTO to demonstrate, for the first time, additional technologies that collect and share information on noise, light levels, and air quality to improve the understanding of the environment in the parks.

Phases Two and Three will bring additional safety technologies to the parks including noise, light, and air quality sensors. Funding for the two remaining phases has been pledged by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, Assembly Member Crespo and Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda have committed funds for the rest of the project.

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