New York City Schools Chancellor Harold Levy and Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik have agreed to look for ways to reduce sex attacks in city schools, including possibly installing more video cameras in schools.
Levy said the question is whether the city has enough money to pay for the security upgrades, which also might include expanding the school security force. Levy and City Council speaker Peter Vallone said that depends partly on current budget negotiations with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
“This notion that you can just wave a magic wand and make the schools safe just doesn’t work,” Levy said during a news conference June 3 in Brooklyn with Vallone. “Security and budget go hand in glove. If we don’t have the money, we can’t do things like cameras, we can’t do things like using technology to get safety.”
The New York Times reported June 3 that sex-related incidents in the city’s schools are happening at an average rate of 10 per week–up 13 percent this year.
In a separate appearance the same day, Giuliani agreed that more efforts should be taken to prevent sexual attacks. Like Levy, Giuliani said the numbers also might reflect better reporting, rather than more attacks.
“Yes, it’s a serious problem,” Giuliani said at a news conference in Midtown. “But it is quite possible that it is a serious problem that is finally coming to light when it has existed for a long time.”
Giuliani and Levy both support a measure before the City Council that would make it a crime for any school official to fail to notify police when a sexual offense occurs in a school. Levy, Kerik, and Edward Stancik, the city’s special commissioner of investigation in the schools, were scheduled to testify June 4 on the proposed law. Vallone also supports the legislation.
Levy said school officials are looking into the cost of installing security cameras in schools. He said police also may put more school security officers in the most troubled schools.