High-Tech "Sky Watch" Facility Overlooks E. 81st & Flatlands
By Charles Rogers
Addressing a problem of increased crime in the vicinity of Flatlands Ave-nue and East 81st Street, the 69th Pre-cinct has installed a new booth tower facility there. Located on the southwest corner, the tower, officially called "Sky Watch," is about two stories tall and oversees activities occurring along the section, including the grounds of Bildersee I.S. 68, and the Flatlands Avenue section from East 81st Street to about East 78th Street to the west and to about East 87th Street to the east.
Standing about two stories tall, Sky Watch consists of a booth manned by a police officer. Inside, there are four cameras, a high-powered spotlight, va-rious sensors and a number of digital cameras.
The cameras beam the transmissions to a headquarters area when the booth is not manned. The facility is on wheels and therefore can be taken away from the Flatlands Avenue site and placed somewhere else when necessary.
According to Sgt. Newell Laird, who heads the community affairs unit at the local precinct, the Sky Watch facility was placed at its present location be-cause the area is considered a relatively high crime section, with some as-saults and robberies having occurred there recently.
"It's been tried other places around the city," Laird said, "and crime has definitely decreased there. Now we're going to try it here. It's bound to be a deterrent."