August 17, 2013
The 620,000 residents living in public housing projects should be fingerprinted as a crime-prevention measure, said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but many city residents protest that the proposal is an invasion of privacy.
Bloomberg, 71, who has acquired a reputation for promoting controversial ideas, including imposing a ban on the sale of large soft drinks, says his latest proposal will make public housing safer.
“The people that live (in public housing), most of them, want more police protection,” the three-time mayor said on his weekly WOR radio broadcast Friday. “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?’”
He added: “What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in, since there’s an allegation that some of the apartments aren’t occupied by the people who originally have the lease.”
Just 5 percent of New York’s population lives in public housing, but 20 percent of the city’s reported crime is committed by residents of government-subsidized housing projects, Bloomberg said.
“We’ve just got to find some way to keep bringing crime down there.”
His spokesman said Bloomberg wants to introduce biometric security technology that would include the introduction of a citywide electronic keycard system for housing residents, AP reported.
Critics say Bloomberg’s latest proposal is a political step too far, especially as it comes on the heels of the highly divisive stop-and-frisk legislation, which opponents say amounts to racial profiling on the part of the police.
“We live here all these years, I mean, what seems to be the problem? This is not jail,” Deborah Gatling, a resident of Chelsea Houses, told CBS.
US District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on Monday ruled that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk searches are a violation of constitutional rights, according to documents filed in a Manhattan court.