New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be on his way out of office, but it is clear he intends to leave with a bang, not a whimper.
Bloomie was holding a news conference Friday about Federal Judge Shira Schendlin’s ruling on the stop-and-frisk program when the subject shifted to security in the city’s crime-ridden public housing developments. It was then that Bloomie delivered his latest bombshell. He proposed that the city fingerprint residents of the “projects.” CBS New York quotes the mayor:
Five percent of our population lives in NYCHA housing, 20 percent of the crime is in NYCHA housing – numbers like that. And we’ve just got to find some way to keep bringing crime down there. And we have a whole group of police officers assigned to NYCHA housing. The people that live there, most of them, want more police protection. They want more people. If you have strangers walking in the halls of your apartment building, don’t you want somebody to stop and say, ‘Who are you, why are you here?’
But residents of the developments are not too keen on the idea, which they feel is a bridge too far. One of them told CBS:
That’s like invading someone’s privacy or something. Why you want to fingerprint somebody? It is bad enough you get arrested, you get finger printed, so why you want to fingerprint us? Now Bloomberg needs to get a job. Get out of here already. He’s done. Bloomberg is done.
I don’t feel that that’s right. Fingerprinted for what? He wants to prove we [live] here. All he has to do is ask to see the lease. I don’t think it’s right. Bloomberg has to stop this mess.
There is one interesting angle to Bloomberg’s proposal that is not explored in the CBS article. That is how you go about fingerprinting 620,000 people, which is the current population of New York’s City’s public housing. Sending police door-to-door would be expensive, not to mention impractical. If the residents of an apartment are not home, a return visit would be required.
The only logical way of accomplishing the task would be to order residents to report to a central location, where they could systematically be fingerprinted. But nearly all of the residents of city housing projects are minorities with low incomes. Isn’t the hardship of showing up at a municipal agency to acquire a free card the chief objection of liberals like Bloomberg voice to passing voter ID laws?
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