Migdalia Aviles, a Spanish-speaking resident of the NHPF property, Plaza Borinquen in New York City, lives with her two granddaughters. Her husband passed away a year ago and soon Midgalia found herself uneasy. She was thrilled when Plaza Borinquen’s Resident Services Coordinator (RSC) Karina Molina arranged for Officer Randy Henriquez to meet with her and discuss her concerns. Migdalia was so grateful for the officer’s visit and appreciated the time he spent with her, made all the more enjoyable and satisfying since Officer Henriquez is Hispanic and they could converse in Spanish.
Migdalia expressed her concerns about safety in the neighborhood, living alone with her two grandchildren since her husband’s death. Officer Henriquez gave her his business card and encouraged her to call him if she needed anything. Migdalia was so thankful for that interaction that she introduced her neighbor, Christine Leon, to Officer Henriquez and Officer Lawrence Chan. The women spoke with both officers, and voiced concerns about the uptick in shootings and drug use in the community.
Both officers let the women know that they were there to keep the residents and the community safe. Christine stated that this was the first time she felt good knowing that “La Placita” (‘La Placita” translates to “The Plaza” and is the nickname that residents have given Plaza Borinquen) has “her own cops.” They also call Plaza Borinquen, Little Puerto Rico. This interaction was a huge milestone for many of the residents who have lived in Plaza Borinquen since it was constructed, often for 20 or more years. For everyone at Operation Pathways and NHPF, we are grateful to Karina (pictured here between Officer Henriquez and Officer Chan) for helping forge this partnership that demonstrates a positive interaction between residents and the NYPD.
NHPF and Operation Pathways help manage and cultivate these relationships on our properties. While for many years we have supported community policing as a deterrent to crime, we have taken a more proactive approach to creating opportunities for police and our residents to have non-threatening and peaceful interactions through our programming. We view this as an important part of our work in social justice and increasing the quality of life in our housing communities.
Where Migdalia Aviles lives matters.