New York City mayor says fingerprints should be used to access public housing

NEW YORK Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:43pm EDT

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gestures while speaking to the media about a judge's ruling on ''stop and frisk'' at City Hall in New York August 12, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gestures while speaking to the media about a judge's ruling on ''stop and frisk'' at City Hall in New York August 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Friday that fingerprint technology should be used to admit residents to city-run housing projects as a way of increasing security.

"What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in," Bloomberg said while speaking on WOR-AM radio about ways to improve safety in public housing. "We've just gotta find some ways to keep bringing crime down there."

Bloomberg, whose third term in office expires at the end of this year, pointed out that locks on buildings were often broken.

The mayor said the projects, run by the largest public housing authority in North America, account for 20 percent of New York City's crime even though they house about 5 percent of its residents. Some 620,000 low- and moderate-income tenants live in the city's public housing.

Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for the mayor's office, said Bloomberg was talking about using fingerprint technology to replace traditional locks.

Bill Thompson, the former city comptroller and sole African American candidate in the mayor race, called Bloomberg's fingerprint remarks "disrespectful" and "disgraceful."

"Just like stop-and-frisk, this is another direct act of treating minorities like criminals," Thompson said.

Public advocate Bill de Blasio, the current Democratic front runner whose wife is African American, said the mayor should apologize for his remarks.

"Once again, Mayor Bloomberg has resorted to presuming innocent people are guilty simply because they happen to live in certain areas, and in doing so he is stigmatizing entire communities," he said.

The mayor made his comments on the same day the city appealed a federal judge's ruling that the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk crime fighting policy was unconstitutional and disproportionately targeted racial minorities.

During his radio interview, Bloomberg said he was concerned the court ruling might make it more difficult for police to patrol public housing units.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called the mayor's comments an outrage.

"Families live in public housing apartments, not criminals," she said in a statement.

"Public housing residents, as well as their friends and family members visiting them, deserve the same level of respect from our mayor as any other New York City resident," she said.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg,; Toni Reinhold)

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Comments (10)
BuffaloGirl wrote:
Does he not understand that cutting off fingers will then become the new trend? It’s not like the underworld has not ever done such a thing.

Aug 16, 2013 6:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JeromeJones wrote:
I bet that Sherrilyn Ifill, Bill Thompsom or Bill de Blasio, don’t live in the NYC Projects but I think that all 3 knuckleheads should have to live in the NYC projects for 1 year and then lets hear their suggestions to make them safer. Again we have complete morons who are running for the Mayors office.

Bill de Blasio, who is married to a black woman – what does that have to do with anything? Does that make him more knowledgeable about the projects? Does his wife live in the projects? Why in God’s name would Francesca Trianni include that? Awful reporting Francesca.

Aug 16, 2013 6:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Doc00001 wrote:
Politicians worried that their servants might come to harm. The answer: Adjust the grip on comings and goings of the not so well to do. Typically American!

Aug 17, 2013 10:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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