Unlocked doors, missing latches, and broken locks were found at 65 percent of developments located in every borough

61 developments found severely vulnerable – with over half their entrances unlocked

(New York, NY) — Today, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released the results of a survey of NYC Housing Authority building doors that revealed over 1,000 broken and defective doors at 195 NYCHA developments. When tested, the doors swung open – or were held open by rope, tape, or chains.

The Comptroller’s audit and investigations team visited 299 NYCHA developments, including 3,538 buildings within them. 65 percent of developments had unsecured doors. Further, 61 developments were severely vulnerable, with over half of their entrance doors unlocked. 47 percent of all front entrances were not equipped with security cameras.

The Comptroller launched the comprehensive, citywide review after a NYCHA resident spoke out at a town hall about safety concerns. She reported that her building lacked a working door for 19 years, the entire life of her grandson.

“All New Yorkers should feel safe in their own homes – but hundreds of broken latches, busted locks, and doors held open by chains and rope leave NYCHA families without that basic sense of security,” said Comptroller Stringer. “Unsecured doors are unacceptable. NYCHA must promptly secure, repair and replace broken doors.”

The Comptroller’s comprehensive building-by-building review of NYCHA’s exterior door security was conducted in summer 2018. The full findings include the following:

Nearly 200 Developments Affected

  • Auditors visited 299 developments citywide, pushing or pulling on over 4,551 exterior building doors – and found that 195 developments were affected by unsecured doors:
    • 62 percent of Bronx developments had at least one door unsecured; including 14 developments where over half of the doors were open to intruders.
    • 73 percent of Brooklyn developments had at least one door unlocked; including 13 developments where over half of the doors were open to intruders.
    • 59 percent of Manhattan developments had at least one door unlocked; including 32 developments where over half of the doors were open to intruders.
    • 67 percent of Queens developments had at least one door unlocked; including 2 developments where over half of the doors were open to intruders.
    • 89 percent of Staten Island developments had at least one door unlocked; no developments had more than half their doors open.

Over One Thousand Broken, Tampered, Open Doors Across All Boroughs

  • Citywide, 1,023 building doors were broken, tampered with, or unlockable, leaving developments open to intruders, including roughly 23 percent of all front doors and 21 percent of all rear or side doors.
    • In Manhattan, 37 percent of the developments’ 761 front doors were open and 33 percent of 269 rear or side doors were unlocked;
    • In the Bronx, 24 percent of the developments’ 767 front doors were open and 20 percent of 276 rear or side doors were unlocked;
    • In Staten Island, 19 percent of the developments’ 108 front doors were open and 21 percent of 28 rear or side doors were unlocked;
    • In Queens, 18 percent of the developments’ 470 front doors were open and 9 percent of 81 rear or side doors were unlocked; and,
    • In Brooklyn, 17 percent of the developments’ 1,432 front doors were open and 14 percent of 359 rear or side doors were unlocked.

Roughly Half of All Front Doors Unmonitored

  • Auditors also searched for security cameras by front doors, and found that just 53 percent (1,887) of all 3,538 entrance doors had cameras placed by the entrance.

Following the auditors’ citywide review, Comptroller Stringer called on NYCHA to immediately assess its security measures, and recommended that NYCHA improve residents’ safety by taking the following steps:

  • Repair or replace all damaged exterior doors identified in this Citywide review and equip them with sturdy, functional hardware;
  • Regularly inspect all exterior doors and maintain all doors and locks in good working order;
  • Ensure that security cameras are operational and located at all publicly accessible entrances and exits; and,
  • Conduct a top-to-bottom review of its security and maintenance systems and procedures to ensure that when exterior doors are obstructed or unsecured, staff are made immediately aware of the conditions, and the doors are promptly fixed.

“Thank you Comptroller Scott Stringer for bringing the importance of our entrance doors to be secured as a priority. Residents safety should always be first,” said Rhonda Bennett, Tenant Association President of Polo Ground Towers.

“We want NYCHA to be more transparent and responsive on this issue. For example, the front door leading to the vestibule has been broken for the last three months. We thank NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and his office for doing the work on this issue. We look forward to working with them in ensuring this gets addressed,” said Neva Harper, President of Shelton Houses Residents Association.

“Residents in Lehman Village complain about how the front doors don’t lock in the lobby and how people are getting robbed. We as residents should be able to live in a safe and healthy environment,” said Patricia Burns, Tenant Association President at Lehman Village.

“Bronx River is compiled of eleven buildings, with two of them being senior buildings. As residents we don’t feel safe because none of the entrance doors lock properly and the lighting is very dim. We have had seniors getting robbed in the buildings because doors do not lock. Doors are of poor quality and are mostly broken. NYCHA set up for Bronx River to have intercom and it has yet to happen. Please, we are in need of help with security/safety improvements and we hope this report sheds light and puts pressure on the importance of this matter,” said Norma Saunders, Bronx River Resident Association President.

To read results from the investigative survey, click here.

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