Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are NYC Housing Project's Residents Being Harassed By The Police? Gentrification May Be The Reason Why

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest recently conducted a survey to determine how residents of New York City housing projects are treated by the police.

The surveyors asked 181 residents of a Brooklyn housing project, and an East Harlem housing project how many times they were stopped and questioned by the police. According to the New York Daily News, the results were as follows: Of the 106 people surveyed at the Thomas Jefferson housing project in Harlem, 30% said that they had been arrested for trespassing at their own place of residence, "70% said they had been repeatedly stopped by cops demanding identification...More than half queried at Walt Whitman [a Fort Greene Brooklyn housing project] said police had stopped them at least once in the last year."

While the surveyed residents feel violated by the intense scrutiny and unwarranted arrests, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne failed to address the residents concerns; instead he issued a statement saying, "Collecting anecdotes from anyone who opens the door does not constitute data." Mr. Browne also stated that the projects were being targeted because they had a spike in crime this year.

I think Mr. Browne should note that if "collecting anecdotes from anyone who opens the door does not constitute data," then unwarranted and unlawful harassment of residents definitely doesn't constitute good police work, or a crime deterrent.

[CLICK HERE: For yesterday's story about a 17-year old Brooklyn housing project resident who got her jaw broken by a NYPD housing officer, after he allegedly stooped her for riding her bike on the sidewalk.]

[A VERY IMPORTANT SIDEBAR: With New York City housing projects being "allegedly" targeted by the city and real estate developers to become New York's newest high-price condos, residents are likely being harassed in order to pressure them to move out. The projects are the hottest most coveted real estate in the city for wealthy developers.]

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