D.C. to require ID to enter certain neighborhoods?

Jason says:
Having finished Little Brother last week it was chilling to see DCist report that I may now need to show ID to get to my house due to the new "Neighborhood Safety Zones" which "which would serve to partially seal off certain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up checkpoints in targeted areas, demand to see ID and refuse admittance to people who don't live there, work there or have a “legitimate reason” to be there."
Link

96

  1. It sounds like Johannesburg during the Apartheid period. Different types of id gave you access to parts of the city based on race.

  2. Wow, now we can be just like the USSR, Germany, and other such countries of the past: “Papers please…(!)”

    Hopefully this won’t fly. If it does- it will only be a matter of time before it becomes common-place.

    Actually, a more recent reference would be something like the society of Dark Angel.

  3. well it’s obvious they are using “id checks” to scare people who might have something to hide from entering the neighborhood.

    it won’t stand

  4. If you think about it though, if you could actually filter out those with “bad intent” you could have a safer better society. Those filters sort of need some tweaking though, not to mention what do you do with those that get “filtered” (or falsely filtered). Think “Escape from LA”…

  5. if you could actually filter out those with “bad intent” you could have a safer better society.

    … and if we had cold fusion, all our energy problems would be solved.

  6. if you could actually filter out those with “bad intent” you could have a safer better society.

    Crime isn’t in the intending, it’s in the committing.

    Minority Report, much?

  7. if you could actually filter out those with “bad intent” you could have a safer better society.

    Nobody who worked on Wall Street would be able to enter Manhattan. Depends on what “bad intent” means. And Cheney wouldn’t be able to leave his secret volcano lair.

  8. Like most of these ‘security’ measures, this was rolled out on a temp basis previously (for things like heads-of-state conferences.)

  9. My god damned hometown (and current location) is truly starting to be a real pain in the ass.

    BTW, nc wy t wrk n yt nthr “Lttl Brthr” rfrnc.

  10. if you could actually filter out those with “bad intent” you could have a safer better society.

    Unfortunately there is no “bad intent” quotient. We are complex beings with mixed motivations, so there is no way to reliably filter for it without just surveiling everyone at all times..

    To that end, we could install little tv screens into everyone’s houses, equipped with those little terr’ist-identifying cameras from the other thread, and a system of trained personnel to scrutinize and report odd behaviour. Also, the tvs would be useful for delivering daily public announcements and keeping the citizens informed of the current war statistics and rationing info.

    I can’t remember though, are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia?

  11. It’s a fairly good idea, excluding the bureaucracy. A more realistic approach would be to let each community determine its own citizens based on values.

  12. “Pedestrians will not be subject to the public safety checks.”
    Assuming theres more foot traffic the auto traffic in urban areas how effective can this program be?

    Treating everyone like a suspect.
    Guilty Guilty Guilty until proven innocent.
    The new American way. Soon we will need to lawyer up to step out side just to prove you’re law abiding citizen.

    Maybe they should focus their efforts on education reform, and community based after school programs in the mentioned districts.

  13. “It’s a fairly good idea, excluding the bureaucracy. A more realistic approach would be to let each community determine its own citizens based on values.”

    “If you think about it though, if you could actually filter out those with “bad intent” you could have a safer better society.”

    I can’t believe people are making excuses for this. This law is so cops can harass minorities and kids who dress funny if they walk into an affluent neighborhood. And even if it’s not, that’s definitly how it will be used. Sorry, no one should be required to show ID in order to travel freely in this country. What’s next barbed wire fences around the ghetto?

  14. Can’t help but wonder if the legal system will have more limits in D.C. than in the states, since D.C. isn’t actually a state at all and the folks who live there have limited rights (at least in terms of voting, though I’m not an expert on the rest yet).

    I sure hope it gets stomped out, right quick. Disgusting.

  15. HALT! Papiere bitte!

    Will you also have to provide an explanation for leaving your ghetto? I mean, before you can say Police State, there will be two adjacent zones and you might not be able to leave one without entering another, right? Constitutional my ass. Again, it isn’t about security, but submission.

  16. Anyone driving into a designated area may be asked to show valid identification with a home address in that neighborhood, or to provide an explanation for entering the NSZ, such as attending church, a doctor’s appointment or visiting friends or relatives.

    Say what you will about the police-state implications of this plan, but that is some AIRTIGHT security right there. I think of myself as pretty crafty, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how a bad guy would beat a system as brilliant in its simplicity as this one.

  17. if a car runs the roadblock, will the secondary roadblock riddle it with gunfire? Or will there be preemptive gunfire if it looks like the car might be planning to run the roadblock? May I suggest laser dazzlers to give fair warning at a distance? Also,how will the problem of car-bombs/suicide bombers be handled?

  18. if you could actually filter out those with “bad intent” you could have a safer better society.

    Nobody who worked on Wall Street would be able to enter Manhattan. Depends on what “bad intent” means. And Cheney wouldn’t be able to leave his secret volcano lair.

  19. You know, looking into the US from the outside becomes more and more sureal. Like a very weird Slow-Motion Trainwreck. In pink. Using clowns as drivers.

    Really, really weird.

    Still, good luck with that, hope it get’s stopped fast.

  20. “or have a “legitimate reason” to be there.”
    …a reason like being white and affluent, perhaps?

    I’m really, really struggling not to invoke Godwin’s Law here.

    Oh damn, I think I just did.

  21. #27 we live in a “free” country, it is absurd to think that you need a reason do as you want on public grounds as long as you abide by the laws. Who owns public grounds? THE PUBLIC!

    regardless of crime rates, this is an extreme measure. there is no excuse for impeding on peoples rights so blatantly.

    Theres about 10 other options to lower crime, like gun control, education reform, and a better understanding to why crime in the area is so out of control. This current plan should be plan Z, and maybe not even considered to be a viable plan at all.

  22. How would the logistic of this work?

    The USA doesn’t (yet) have an ID card system, right? So people in this neighbourhood would need to come up with their own govt-accepted proof of name, home address, where they worked, or that their favourite bakery is just around the corner.

  23. This is most likely an expansion of an existing DC policy, called “Anti-Loitering/Drug Free Zones”. They started them up quite a few years ago.

    Basically the way it works is the city designates an area (usually a poor neighborhood), and anybody within that area can be arbitrarily stopped, searched, and ordered to “move along”. Anyone in that area who can’t offer a satisfactory reason for being outside goes to jail. And no, “hanging out with friends” or “being homeless” are decidedly not satisfactory reasons.

    Even from a very cursory investigation, walking around the ghetto talking to people, I heard of people who were detained and thoroughly searched for waiting at the bus stop, riding their bikes to work, even threatened with arrest for sitting in their own front yards.

    This from a city which also has a curfew law, which makes any minor outdoors after a certain time (can’t remember when) subject to immediate arrest. This is ostensibly city-wide, but only really enforced in poor high-crime neighborhoods.

    It’s interesting how all of these laws don’t affect the whole city, only targeted areas. If they applied this kind of police-state to the whole city, people would be up in arms. By doing it only in poor black areas, they seem to be able to get away with it.

  24. #21, what you are suggesting is dangerous, and I have first hand experience with this kind of mindset.

    I live in a low income neighborhood – we have immigrants, poverty level families, the homeless, etc all in one small area.

    Why? Because all of the surrounding towns have done their best to get rid of low income housing and families, all to appease what I like to call the ‘rich white families’.

    I walk around the town where I live now, and see a crazy amount of homeless, soup kicthens full, food pantries closed, etc. I walk around my parent’s hometown 20 minutes away, and theres no homeless, all of the low income housing gone for condos, etc.

    Gee, I wonder where all those families were forced to go? If this kind of thing gets popular, I’ll have to prove that even though I live in poverty, I’m not going to rob the rich white people’s houses if I want to take a walk in my home town.

    Yay for stupidity on a new level.

  25. Hrm, they should patch this into GTA:IV and see if it helps Liberty City be any safer. :)

  26. The problem with this, as with so many other “preventative measures”, is that we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. It is not up to a single policeman or military officer to determine, without any evidence, our guilt.

    The government has no authority to prevent us from being on public property. If they suspect us of having committed a crime, they may arrest us, but they better be able to show reasonable suspicion. Not having a good reason for being there isn’t even reasonable suspicion of intent to commit a crime (which isn’t a crime itself), let along reasonable suspicion of having committed a crime. It’s no different than photographing a public building from public property; there is no law against it, so they have no authority to arrest you for doing it.

  27. The most disturbing thing, to me, is the way this sort of measure can start to feel normal once it’s been employed for a while. The first few times you drive through the barricade, it’s eerie and scary. The twentieth time, it’s annoying. The time they pull you out of the car and arrest you for not having your papers or a “legitimate purpose” in the area, it’s too late.

    Surely, there are better ways of curbing the violence that is wracking DC (a story which has been seriously under-reported in the national press, if it’s as bad as it sounds). I don’t know if the answer is more cops or gun control or what, but I don’t think criminalizing entire neighborhoods is likely to work out for the better.

  28. “This law is so cops can harass minorities and kids who dress funny if they walk into an affluent neighborhood.”

    Not really. They are setting up temporary checkpoints in high-crime areas, not affluent areas, in order to bring some peace of mind to the long-term residents and elderly people who are tired of seeing prostitutes, johns and drug dealers in their neighborhood. That doesn’t mean that I support this measure though. Even criminals have the right to walk on public streets. I would have no problem with security officers checking the IDs of people who want to enter a private gated community, but public streets are a different story.

  29. This may sound bad to those of you who have never had the joy of driving through the bad parts of DC. For those of you who have driven through North East DC at night or even during the day, you know that this is actually a good thing.

    I live in Denver, CO now and I have not seen anything close to how bad it is in DC or Richmond. DC is terrible and it needs to be fixed regardless of any cultural factors.

    Focusing their policing efforts on the crime plagued communities can only be a positive influence, because there is not much that could make them worse.

  30. This was previously ruled illegal, when it was tried in Florida several years ago.

  31. For those of you who have driven through North East DC at night or even during the day, you know that this is actually a good thing.

    For some reason, I’m not convinced that trampling on the rights of innocent people is the best way to go about ridding the city of crime.

  32. Frog is bouncing about merrily in his comfy pot of water. Frog is so happy, frog is so warm! It’s ever so fine to be a happy frog in his ever warmer bath of water. Think about the tadpoles!

  33. Hmm.

    Okay, Washington, D.C. is under the control of a mayor and a city council, and is overseen by the U.S. Congress. So, the people with authority over this decision are:

    Mayor:
    Adrian Fenty (D)

    Council:
    Vincent C. Gray (D), Council Chair
    Carol Schwartz (R), At-Large
    David Catania (I), At-Large
    Phil Mendelson (D), At-Large
    Kwame R. Brown (D), At-Large
    Jim Graham (D), Ward One
    Jack Evans (D), Ward Two
    Mary Cheh (D), Ward Three
    Muriel Bowser (D), Ward Four
    Harry Thomas, Jr. (D), Ward Five
    Tommy Wells (D), Ward Six
    Yvette M. Alexander (D), Ward Seven
    Marion Barry (D), Ward Eight

    Congress:
    Nancy Pelosi (D), Speaker of the House
    Harry Reid (D), Senate Majority Leader
    Henry Waxman (D), Chairman, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
    Joe Lieberman (ID), Chairman, United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    Danny K. Davis (D), Chairman, United States House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Post Office, and the District of Columbia
    Daniel Akaka (D), Chairman, United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia

    But, yes, Anslem, Coldspell, I’m sure it’s all Bush’s fault, somehow.

  34. I can’t remember though, are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia?

    Eastasia.

    Eurasia is later, when they won’t take dollars as payment and our economy goes bow-up, Titanic style. Then them continentals, so afraid of their moslem terrists, will get a whippin’.

    (The last brought to you from someone I know — apparently Europe/France is too afraid of the terrists within to fight the good fight with us in AfghaniIranIraqistan. No good Yerpeans! Don’t know how to handle them terrists like we do.)

  35. In the 1880’s NYC police commissioner Byrne established the “Fulton Street deadline” to keep “pickpockets and beggars” out of the financial district. This was mentioned in Jack Finney’s best seller, Time and Again.

  36. I can’t believe people are making excuses for this.

    I can’t believe people took my comment so seriously. Note “Escape from LA” reference…

  37. Come on people, we need this policy.

    Otherwise the ruling classes who live in these neighborhoods might be endangered.

    As we roll back all the Liberties to protect our Liberties, some people might get upset and want to take their complaints direct, because they hate America.

    The Constitution is just a piece of paper. Power grows from the barrel of a gun, which is also why we need gun control.

    Next up, you don’t have any reason to travel in National Parks, unless you have your proper papers.

  38. <sarcasm subfactor=”subtlety”>Those filters sort of need some tweaking though<sarcasm>

  39. “Otherwise the ruling classes who live in these neighborhoods might be endangered.”

    Ruling classes? You’re aware that this action is proposed to take place in high crime neighborhoods, right? The “ruling classes” will be the ones most likely to get stopped by police as they enter these neighborhoods because the cops will assume that they are johns looking for prostitutes or wealthy suburban kids looking to score drugs.

  40. Look at how easy it is to type “Papers Please”

    Papers Please

    there, I just did it twice without even using my brain!

  41. Holtt,

    If your sarcasm fails, it’s your problem, not everyone else’s. I was on the verge of invoking Zyklon B when I saw your non-apology.

    It’s illegal in California to gate an existing street/neighborhood. One can build a new, gated community, but who wants to live in one of those anyway?

  42. Seriously? To stop crime? Stop the drug war. Legalize them all. No, don’t tax them, who cares. Just stop the money. That’s the cause of the fifty years of violent hell we’ve endured in the US. People fighting for drug profits that only can be had in a black market. It’s destroyed large segments of our culture, it’s annihilated Central and South America. Kill the cause: money. It’s what Prohibition would have been if we hadn’t come to our senses.

    We may now be stuck with the gangs, no matter what we do. Prohibition made the Mafia what it is today. No doubt the street “gangs” will be with us forever.

  43. Anyone who is worried about Godwin’s law here – check out this article Naomi Wolfe -Fascist America in 10 easy steps: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment
    I think it’s about time we wake up and stop saying nothing compares, nothing resembles.
    I was just in Brazil, where the gated communities are mad. I had to walk to a hostel on a road where I was surrounded by 10 foot high masonry walls topped with razor wire and electric fence. I felt so unsafe because there was no one around and there was nowhere I could go if I needed help. What if I even broke my ankle?
    I live in Canada in a community where the kids play on the street and there are prostitutes and drug dealers and homeless people too. I don’t always feel great – but I am not alone. I would be really unhappy if the government put walls up here.

  44. AGF – that Naomi Wolfe piece has been dug up so much it stinks. She’s about as rational as Alex Jones.

  45. @Catbeller: I agree with you 100% that drugs should be legalized. Remove the profit motive; remove the crime.

    Unfortunately, no US politician has the balls to make that happen. Look at the hissy fit the US has when its neighbors Canada or Mexico think about legalizing something as harmless as marijuana.

    But I am optimistic. I believe that when Gen X and Y politicians replace today’s political old guard, they will be able to legalize marijuana. They understand that it’s not a big deal. And I think legalizing marijuana is the 80/20 solution: many drug users would settle for the safety and convenience of legal marijuana over harder drugs.

    And think of the public safety benefits of having criminals getting stoned instead of drunk or smoking crack. They’ll be too lazy to commit crimes or too dumb to avoid arrest. ;)

  46. the chronological age of a politician has no bearing on his willingness to take a bribe.

  47. coldspell – the biggest reason marijuana has not been legalized: No one can remember where they put the petition.

  48. A more realistic approach would be to let each community determine its own citizens based on values.< ?i>

    Yeah, tribalism always works well. Are you a Rapturist?

  49. the muslim enclave? The jewish quarter? The christian ghetto, the $cientologist’s five star hotel? By skin colour? Bank account? Gun ownership?

    Hey, ever wonder what a Boinger’s only neighbourhood would look like?

  50. ever wonder what a Boinger’s only neighbourhood would look like?

    Round the clock house to house battles…

  51. @66:
    “A more realistic approach would be to let each community determine its own citizens based on values.”

    They kind of do that in Switzerland. Non-citizens can apply to their particular Canton. I forget the actual process, but acceptance depends on approval from other citizens.

  52. Switzerland has just rejected the reinstatement of the secret citizenship ballot, which oddly never seemed to allow non-whites to become citizens. Here’s a BBC article about two ethnic Turks who, despite being born in Switzerland and passing all the tests, were repeatedly rejected for citizenship.

  53. Many, many good comments. I’ll have to google this but I have an interesting thought. Why are gated communities legal? Where I live, if you are within the “city limits” your land doesn’t technically belong to you. It’s almost like you have a permanent “license” to it, to put it in software terms. I say this because they can claim imminent domain and TAKE your land if they really feel like it, among other things. Are the streets in a gated community paid for by the homeowners themselves personally, or did they come out of MY taxes? If they came out of MY taxes, then I claim the gates are an obstruction of my public property. Anybody who has a thorough understanding of how it actually works, let me know, I’ll be googling.

  54. Hey, ever wonder what a Boinger’s only neighbourhood would look like?

    It exists, it’s just virtual.

  55. Normally, in California, when a developer creates a Planned Development (PD or PUD), bonds are sold (Mello-Roos) to pay for the infrastructure such as roads and utilities. The homeowners in the PD pay extra taxes for several decades until the bonds are paid off. It defers the cost in order to either a) make home prices more reasonable or b)artificially deflate home prices to make them more salable, depending on your economic view. General taxation does not normally pay for infrastructure in a PD, although it might pay to pave a road or put in a sewer line that’s not part of a development.

  56. if you lived in one of these neighborhoods, i have the feeling your perspective would be much different. clearly it won’t stand court scrutiny, but none of you would even dream of living in one of these neighborhoods. when the government can not provide safety, people don’t care about liberties that they can not exercise without fearing for their life. we see that in iraq, russia, and other places.

  57. if you lived in one of these neighborhoods, i have the feeling your perspective would be much different.

    Oh, of course, none of us have ever experienced the sort of place where you might get beaten just for being there. No, never. Thanks for classing us all, sir, and also making the classic argument that safety is more important than liberty. At least it reaffirms my belief that there is no reasonable argument for this kind of action.

  58. I suspect cops love gated communities. The well to do ones anyway. No calls, one way in or out, just about sure if you do get a call they will be connected enough so you you won’t be filling out paperwork.

  59. Okay, begging for riots, then. One more reason to make sure that the proles don’t travel around too much. We can’t have people stand up for their public freedom rights. That’d be unpatriotic.

  60. “One can build a new, gated community, but who wants to live in one of those anyway?”

    I wouldn’t mind living in a gated community, depending on the architecture of the house. In the past several years I have had my car broken into, neighbors have had tires slashed, somebody kicked my front door off the hinges and robbed my house while I was on vacation and I wake up to the sight of broken beer bottles on the curb at least twice a week. Screw that. It would be nice to get a break from all that nonsense.

  61. I remember recently a bunch of speeding tickets got thrown out because they were on restricted access roads like on military bases and whatnot. the police can only really issue tickets on public roads. So look at on the bright side. If they maintain that it is not a public road, which they do if they stop you driving on it, they have no standing to issue speeding tickets. “my “legitimate reason” for being here is drag racing.”

  62. Kinda sounds like a weird and crazy measure.

    But then they’ll never institute a mandatory 50-state death penalty for murder 1, voluntary manslaughter, accessory and accomplice.

    Stranger still is how much liberals Love criminals.

  63. While cutting off neighborhoods has been tried in the past, depending on who you talk to it doesn’t work very well. Crime prevention through env design, Newman with Defensible Spaces did some work with this kind of thing. Even he’s said in some of his writings that it doesn’t work everywhere or alone.

    Most of what we’ve been reading and hearing about in class (Landscape Architect student) seems to indicate the best way to reduce crime is to NOT segregate along income levels. Though it really seems to boil down to the mixture of renters vs. owner occupied.

    Paducah, a model for change that did actually work and didn’t involve cutting off people and movement. Though I’m pretty sure that it’s crime situation wasn’t quite comparable.

    And for the social systems aspects…one of my high school teachers liked to say “You can pay now (in terms of good schools, training programs, social services that provide basic necessities) or you can pay later (prisons).”

  64. #76 no thanks for not being capable of reading what i wrote. did i ever say that their view point was a valid reason to do that? of course you are from Tennessee so we’ll let it slide. if you like, come on up DC way and i’ll take you to some of these places where you can spend some quality time. will be interested to know what your loved ones think about it at your funeral.

  65. well,Mikelotus, did you really read Tenn’s post? Also, the Tennessee assumption is both incorrect and possibly rude – I’d have to ask her.

    @82, yeah, anyone victimized by urban crime stupidity will look enviously at the non-event that gated life is. But also realize you will not be able to paint your house as you see fit. Or have garish curtains. Or have your kid’s play basketball in the driveway. Or own cats that wander. Or have anything but grass in your front yard. Or work on your car. Or build a treehouse. Or even get in if you are the wrong colour, religion etc.

  66. Ah. You’ve obviously experienced the reality of gated communities. You pay for a house, but you live like you’re in an apartment

  67. I use that quote all the time, when asked why I haven’t had a mate lately. Bloody social expectations.

  68. the biggest reason marijuana has not been legalized: No one can remember where they put the petition.

    Because the only people who think the drug war is incredibly destructive and dangerous is upper-middle-class stoners. Gotcha.

    http://tinyurl.com/3e9p5c

  69. of course you are from Tennessee so we’ll let it slide. if you like, come on up DC way and i’ll take you to some of these places where you can spend some quality time. will be interested to know what your loved ones think about it at your funeral.

    Am not, actually. Tenn’s a ‘handle’. It’s an internet moniker, and doesn’t necessarily give away my location. You profess to know what sort of cities the Happy Mutants live in; you’re wrong.

    Furthermore, I know inner-city. Right now I’m in a pretty calm ‘burb, but while I’ve never lived in DC, I’ve lived in the nasty parts of Fort Worth / Dallas recently, and spent a length of time in Chicago when I was a kid. It doesn’t change my opinion. Checkpoints screams police-state.

    So you didn’t state that the loss of liberty was right, you said that people are more worried about safety. You didn’t say that it was wrong, either. My mistake and I apologize for it.

  70. In 1971, many people found out that DC had an identification law because they were prosecuted for failure to produce such (even those nowhere near the demonstration areas)

Comments are closed.