At Butler Houses in the Bronx, household garbage left in the entranceways and on the sidewalks had become a major problem. Thanks to the joint efforts of two NYPD Officers and Police Service Area (PSA) 7, Butler’s resident association, and residents, the development’s entrances are now cleaner and more welcoming for residents and their guests.
Butler is one of 15 NYCHA developments taking part in the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, a multi-agency effort to reduce crime in New York City neighborhoods and build stronger neighborhoods by listening to and addressing residents’ concerns and providing expanding programming.
For the past year, two NYPD Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO), partners Leandro Payero and Joseph Repetti, along with PSA 7’s commanding officer Deputy Inspector Jerry O’Sullivan, have been working on tackling an issue of concern for many of Butler’s residents: the trash left outside the development. NCOs are neighborhood-based patrol officers who, in addition to crime-fighting, also schedule time to meet with community members to discuss their concerns and work on solutions.
The officers used a three-step approach to address the garbage issue. First, tenants were mailed an information letter with the procedures for proper disposal of household and bulk garbage and recycling. Second, with Butler’s Property Manager Ndukah Chukwuma and Resident Association President Cornell Nolton, the officers held lobby meetings with residents to review proper trash disposal rules and answer questions. The third step was enforcement – the officers estimate that, to date, they’ve issued six or seven summonses to residents who didn’t comply with the rules.
“The front of the buildings look 80 percent better because of everything we’re doing to make this development a nicer, safer place,” says Officer Payero.
His partner, Officer Repetti, adds, “It’s not something that happens overnight, but for approximately the last year that we’ve been working on this issue, there’s been change. Also, people wave to us now, residents and staff know us, and the buildings and grounds are becoming cleaner. Working together, we can make a difference.”
The officers are currently doing another round of lobby meetings to inform residents about opportunities and resources. Green City Force has attended to recruit new members, and the Department for the Aging and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence have provided residents with information on programs.