BELL ATLANTIC NYNEX MOBILE CELLULAR PHONES TO HELP NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY CATCH ARSONISTS
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 1996
BELL ATLANTIC NYNEX MOBILE CELLULAR PHONES TO HELP
NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY CATCH ARSONISTS
Donation of 100 Cellular Phones Turn Youth/Tenant
Patrols into Arson Patrols; Important Public/Private
Initiative to Make City Safer, says Mayor Rudolph W.
ORANGEBURG, NY -- Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile and the New
Housing Authority jointly announced today a new public/private
initiative to combat arson in public housing developments. Through
the cellular company's "Wireless at Work ..." program, 100
phones ready for 9-1-1 use are being donated to the Housing
Authority's tenant and youth patrols which are organized and trained
to spot arson in public developments, and notify police. Patrol
volunteers will also be able to call the Police Department's Emergency
Services Squad hotline number wirelessly.
Arson is a significant problem -- more than 550 buildings in 71
developments throughout the City are identified as "high
Housing Authority and the Fire Department have made great progress with
new initiatives to control fires, and the introduction of the portable
cellular phones to the patrols represents another significant step
forward. With cellular phones in hand, the patrols can report incidents
immediately, call for help to control fires and catch offenders more
quickly -- all of which can save lives.
"The cellular phones are specially programmed so that the youth and
tenant patrols can call for assistance and supervision," said Rick
Conrad, president, New York metro region, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile.
"This is one example of the many ways wireless communications can
solve the City's most pressing problems and improve the quality of
life for all New Yorkers."
"Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's cellular phones will immediately
transform our youth patrols into active arson patrols," said Housing
Authority Chairman Ruben Franco. "Citizens' patrol groups like
can be very effective in deterring criminal activity in large housing
developments. And the speed the phones provide -- nearly instant
communication with police -- will be a key factor in apprehending
arsonists and virtually eliminating this problem. In fact, the use of
cellular phones is an increasingly important part of law enforcement
technology for us."
"It is public/private partnerships like this one which help our City
become safer every day," said Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. "This
latest of several cellular phone donations from Bell Atlantic NYNEX
Mobile to the City of New York in the last six months and we thank
them once again for their help and commitment to the City."
The company also donated 50 cellular phones to support two of the
Mayor's domestic violence initiatives launched last fall. Through Bell
Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's "Wireless at Work..." initiative,
domestic violence seeking help through the Mayor's "Project
"Alternatives to Shelter" programs get wireless anytime,
access to 9-1-1, free of charge, to help protect them from future
The Housing Authority formed the "Prevent Fire Youth Patrol"
in November 1995, after a rash of stairwell fires claimed two lives.
Building tenant associations supervise the patrols, which currently
include more than 300 youngsters who reside in the developments.
So far, the patrols are a great success. One youth patrol is credited
with containing a stairwell fire at Castle Hills Houses in the Bronx,
and several arson arrests have been made as a result of the patrols'
work. The Housing Authority is expanding the program to include 500
housing residents. Federal housing funds cover the costs.
The company has been providing wireless communications solutions to
those most in need since 1984. In 1993, the company introduced a free
cellular voice mail service called Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile
HopeLine® throughout the East Coast. HopeLine has been expanded to
also serve victims of domestic violence in eight counties in New
Jersey, and in Westchester, New York. The company plans more cellular
phone donations and outreach programs in the City to those in greatest
With 3.4 million customers, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile is the largest
wireless service provider on the East Coast and the second largest
provider in the United States. Headquartered in Bedminster, New
Jersey, the company offers a full range of wireless voice, data and
paging communications solutions to customers in the Northeast,
Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile was formed in
July 1995 through the combination of Bell Atlantic Mobile's and NYNEX
Mobile's operations. The company's New York-New Jersey metro region
headquarters is based in Orangeburg, New York.
- Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile, Howard Waterman, 914-365-7212
New York City Housing Authority, Ruth Noemi Colon, 212 306-3453