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Mayor Bloomberg Wants to Fingerprint Public Housing Residents

What could possibly go wrong?


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested during his weekly radio address Friday that fingerprinting the residents of public housing would lead to a reduction in crime. "What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in," Bloomberg said of New York City Housing Authority tenants. He went on to say:

"... And of course there's an allegation that some of these apartments aren’t occupied by the people who originally have the lease."

"We've just gotta find some ways to keep bringing crime down there," he said, arguing that most people who live in the buildings want more police protection.

"If you have a stranger walking in the halls of your apartment building, don't you want somebody to stop and say, 'Who are you? Why're you here?' Because the locks on these doors, with so many people coming and going, you really can't," he said.

It seems like Bloomberg is talking about biometric locks, similar to the one pictured above, where pressing down one's finger unlocks the door. But it's possible he's referring to using fingerprinting as a prerequisite for living in public housing, or even having someone on staff at public housing checking the fingerprints of random people in the building.

Soon after Bloomberg's radio address, New York mayoral candidates slammed the fingerprint suggestion. Emerging frontrunner Bill de Blasio called it "outrageous and insulting," Bill Thompson called it "disrespectful" and "disgraceful" and Christine Quinn called it "completely ludicrous and outrageous." In response to a query from, Bloomberg spokesman Marc La Vorgna said, "You place the strongest security measures on things of most value – what is more valuable than their homes?"

Not their privacy, apparently. 

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