Bloomberg is Right and Wrong About Fingerprinting Public Housing Residents

“Five percent of our population lives in NYCHA housing, 20 percent of the crime is in NYCHA housing."


Bloomberg is wrong 8 times out of 10, but that's still a better track record than any of his incoming replacements. Currently running ahead is Bill de Blasio, a guy slightly to the left of Stalin.

Giuliani did a pretty decent job of cutting down on crime in housing projects. Many of them no longer look like self-contained post-apocalyptic fortresses. Well they do, but the people outside are no longer openly dealing drugs or fighting drunkenly in the playgrounds. Well not as much as they used to.

And the numbers do speak for themselves.

“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,” Bloomberg said.

“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?’

I'm not really sure how Bloomberg's fingerprinting solution is going to solve much. The real problem is that legal housing project tenants invite in illegals.

The single mother with three kids has boyfriends over who deal drugs. The nice grandmother in 7B has a grandson who just got out of prison. It's this kind of thing that's a problem.

Giuliani evicted a lot of the problem people from public housing, but the reality is that the target population for public housing is crime-prone. So how do you fix that?

Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights said the fingerprinting is an excessive response to a possible problem of trespassing.

“I would submit that a very easy way to fix, that would be to actually make sure that NYCHA housing actually have functioning door locks and security systems. My understanding, having talked to a lot of tenants, is that’s a very big problem. You have broken doors, which anybody can open and close,” Charney said.

The doors are broken because residents break them. Unbreakable doors are hard to come by. We're talking about buildings with epic scale vandalism where even streetlights get torn out of the ground. Mailboxes, metal cages of them, are torn open to get at the government checks inside.

Residents routinely prop open doors. Doors that forcibly close are forced open. You get the picture.

Biometric scanners are going to last 5 seconds against that kind of treatment. So fingerprinting residents is a dead end. It might just be better to continue moving away from the monster towering projects of the past and toward decentralized 1-3 story houses that are being built more often these days.

An apartment building can be nice if the residents are civil. They're going to be hellholes though if they're housing projects or affordable housing or any other euphemism.

Not everyone in a project is a crack fiend. Most aren't. But there are enough who either are or have kids, grandkids or boyfriends who are ex-cons or pre-cons.

A housing project kills a neighborhood. Plant one and nothing will grow. There's no real solution except to reduce their footprint and keep them away from neighborhoods that still have some hope left.