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Bloomberg’s idea to fingerprint NYCHA residents isn’t a new one

EAST HARLEM (PIX11) – Fresh of his stop-and-frisk defeat in federal court, Mayor Bloomberg is back to now brainstorming on how to drive down crime, and keep New Yorkers safe, particularly in the city’s public housing developments: Biometric fingerprint scanning at the front entrance.

This idea — which the mayor floated Friday during his radio show — isn’t an official proposal just yet.

But it was offered, according to the Mayor’s Press Secretary, as a way to increase security and prevent non-tenants, especially criminals, from roaming the hallways.

This isn’t a new idea. In fact, our research for this story led us across the Hudson River to Elizabeth, New Jersey where a few years ago city officials decided to install biometric fingerprint readers at all four of the city’s senior centers.

An official says the system didn’t last a year before they decided to shut it down and adopt a simpler key fob set up. The official went on to say,   “They did not anticipate that as seniors get older, their fingerprint lines are less and less defined, and the scanning technology wasn’t sensitive enough. So seniors were getting locked out of the buildings. On paper it’s a marvelous system, but for seniors and the disabled, it’s simply not practical.”

They did not anticipate that as seniors get older, their fingerprint lines are less and less defined, and the scanning technology wasn’t sensitive enough. So seniors were getting locked out of the building. Also, some disabled seniors weren’t able to put their fingers directly on the scanner. It would take them three and four tries.

The Mayor’s office said that even if a fingerprinting system was established for NYCHA housing, it is unlikely to be one that could be tied into any other system.

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