Neighborhood Intel

After Oakland warehouse fire, map of NYC smoke detector violations shows Bushwick and the Bronx at high risk

By Virginia K. Smith  | December 13, 2016 - 8:59AM

In the fallout from the tragic fire at Oakland warehouse the Ghost Ship, much attention has been turned towards DIY and warehouse spaces here in NYC, and how to keep them as safe as possible. New data pulled by RentHop shows that the city's warehouse-dwellers (or even warehouse-visitors) have ample cause to be concerned: Pulling 311 data on complaints for "lack of or improper installation of a smoke detector," RentHop found some neighborhoods disproportionately affected.

The Bronx had the most violations proportionate to the number of rental units by any borough, and all the neighborhoods with the most violations were in Brooklyn or the Bronx, while Manhattan (and more expensive areas throughout the city) and relatively low numbers of violations.

Below, a chart of the top 5 neighborhoods for smoke detector complaints, with warehouse-heavy Bushwick leading the pack:


On the bright side, all of these areas have seen a steep dropoff in complaints since 2010, indicating, hopefully, that landlords are becoming more attentive and responsive to the issue. (Though it could also mean that residents have simply stopped reporting them.)

And on the flip side, there were areas including Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan, and Co-op City in the Bronx, that had zero violations whatsoever. However, there are still some chronic repeat offenders, and landlords with more than five violations since 2010 are marked on the map with exclamation points. You can play around with it below: 



"Prospective renters would be wise to take an extra peek around apartments in violation-prone areas, and especially those among the top violators list," advises RentHop Data Scientist Shane Leese, who compiled the map. "Current renters should take a look to confirm that their smoke alarms properly installed and hasn’t expired. Report to your super first, then 311 if they don’t show interest in resolving it quickly."

Even if you're not in a particularly violation-prone area, it's never a bad idea to add fresh batteries to your smoke detectors, confirm the location of your apartment's fire extinguisher, check on the safety of your fire escape, and make sure you're not overloading any outlets (more fire safety tips here). Whether you live in a ramshackle warehouse or a perfectly up-to-code co-op, we could all stand to be a little more proactive about fire safety in our apartment buildings.


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