Council member calls on NYCHA for action following 7 On Your Side Investigation

EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- New York City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, chair of the Committee on Public Housing, has called for action following an Eyewitness News investigation examining the lack of lighting a public housing complex in Brooklyn.

Residents at the Cypress Hills Houses in East New York complained to 7 On Your Side Investigates that their exterior lighting had not been working for almost a year, forcing residents to use flashlights in order to see as they walked through the roughly 29-acre property on their way in or out at night.

"It's absolutely crazy, absolutely ridiculous," said Dwayne Faison, president of the resident association.

Our investigation found that during the months residents said the lights were out, the number of serious crimes known as index crimes reported at the Cypress Houses grew even as the number of index crimes reported citywide declined.

"I'm blown away," Ampry-Samuel said. "My colleagues are allocating lighting for cameras, lighting and secure doors, and we need to just make it a priority."

NYCHA has now restored the exterior lighting at the Cypress Houses.

Crews made the repairs the same week we reached out about the outages, and a spokesperson promised to continue "to inspect exterior lighting" and "address any subsequent issues."

"I appreciate the story, first off because whenever it goes to the media, that's when we get to see things that are really happening," Ampry-Samuel said. "If we are putting people's safety in jeopardy, that's a problem."

Studies have shown that outdoor lighting is a key factor in reducing nighttime crime, and a recent survey by Mayor Bill de Blasio's office found 21% of public housing residents don't feel safe walking around at night.

Resident like Faison said it's no wonder they don't feel safe when they don't have enough light to see, and they say that the problem is one that should not have been allowed to go on for months.

"You would think that after all the complaints, that NYCHA would have taken some sort of immediate action," Faison said. "The message is obvious, that your safety is not their concern."

After hearing from us, Ampry- Samuel said she reached out to NYCHA and would be following up to make sure the city prioritizes budgeting the funds to better resolve issues like the ones at the Cypress Houses.

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