New security monitoring devices being installed in vacant Capital Region buildings

Dan Levy & WNYT Staff
Updated: October 15, 2019 06:41 PM
Created: October 15, 2019 05:47 PM

In several cities across the Capital Region, there are a number of vacant "red-X" buildings.

There was a fire at one on Eagle Street Schenectady on Friday. Fortunately, firefighters were able to put out the flames before it spread to occupied homes on either side. 


However, the concern now is that with more than 2,000 vacant properties in the Capital Region that if one were to catch fire in the future, people may not be so lucky.

That's why mayors in three Capital Region cities – Albany, Schenectady, and Troy, are teaming up to reduce the chance of people getting hurt around those empty buildings.

The cities are installing new security monitoring devices in some of their vacant buildings. It's a tiny solar-powered device that detects motion or smoke alarms in the building. The device is programmed to send an email or text message to police or fire officials. It can even dial the phone number of a neighbor to alert them of an intruder or fire.

Each device costs about $300. There is also an additional monthly monitoring fee which would be paid by the city. However, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy says he is not averse to billing absentee property owners as a disincentive to proliferating urban blight.

The cities will get to pick and choose which buildings they will be installed in. However, no one is ruling out the possibility that if enough money becomes available, homeowners could request one be put in a vacant property near theirs.

Hear mayors talk more about how these devices will help their cities by watching the video of Dan Levy's story.

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