Whether his comments were meant as a serious policy statement or an off-the-cuff expression of frustration, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s suggestion that City Housing Authority residents should be fingerprinted to allow access to their homes was yet another example of the disconnect the Mayor has with underprivileged citizens.
While the Mayor cites a high crime rate within areas surrounding NYCHA housing, he seems to dismiss the possibility that there is no reason to treat all 400,000 NYCHA residents as an unseemly element, especially when they are simply trying to get into their own homes. These residents already are subject to “vertical patrols” within their buildings, with police questioning people for proof of residence, with visitors frequently facing increased questioning or even arrests for trespassing.
A spokesman for the Mayor expressed plans to incorporate electronic access to NYCHA housing to increase security, but given the lack of attention these residents have received in the past, can we really expect money for better security to be spent anytime soon?
The City should put more focus on making NYCHA residents feel safe and secure in their own homes. Instead, they are made to feel like second-class citizens, questioning their actions – often without cause. Hopefully, New York’s next mayor can give these people the security they deserve where they live.