Highway to the Neighborhood Zones

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This is a great idea!

The Examiner has the scoop on a controversial new program announced today that would create so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones" 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.

From the story:

Peter Nickles, the city's interim attorney general, said the quarantine would have "a narrow focus."

"This is a very targeted program that has been used in other cities," Nickles told The Examiner. "I'm not worried about the constitutionality of it."

Others are. Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the D.C. police union and a former lawyer, called the checkpoint proposal "breathtaking."

Shelley Broderick
, president of the D.C.-area American Civil Liberties Union and the dean of the University of the District of Columbia's law school, said the plan was "cockamamie."

"I think they tried this in Russia and it failed," she said.

Or maybe the Russians didn't do it right!

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  1. Wow. I am otherwise speechless.

  2. “This is a very targeted program that has been used in other cities,” Nickles told The Examiner. “I’m not worried about the constitutionality of it.”

    Other cities, yes. Not other cities in the United States though…

  3. Internal passports: also popular in Apartheid South Africa!

  4. I hope the Reason offices are in the Green Zone.

  5. “I’m not worried about the constitutionality of it.”

    No shit.

    “Ihre Papieren, bitte.”

  6. Internal Passports (ITVs) are also popular in “Southland Tales”.

    But really. You scoff at the measure and then some ScaryHomeless shows up and threatens your way of life. I say no to that! Think of the children.

  7. Let me guess where these “safe zones” would be. How about west of Rock Creek Park? All those rich white liberals living in NW Washington don’t want any of those dangerous black people coming over to their side of the city, unless of course they have a good reason to be there, like you know mowing lawns or cleaning the house.

  8. Just another gated community.

  9. I’ve long said that you had 2 choices when it came to dealing with urban pharmacuticals: legalize it and be done with the charade or go all police state. Anything else is just jerking off.

    Not too surprised to see Chief Kathy Lanier has decided to go with the bukkake party option.

  10. This should not be surprising. If you do not believe in private property rights (real private property right, not the quasi-private system we have now where you pay property taxes to the state, where what you do in the privacy of your home is the state’s business, and where your property can be seized for dubious reasons), then the state basically owns the territory. Once you’ve granted the state that power, this is a natural and predictable result.

  11. If they privatized ’em, it would be just like “Snowcrash”.

  12. “This is a very targeted program that has been used in other cities”

    Warsaw, circa 1943, comes to mind.

  13. It sounds exactly like Fallujah.

  14. How else are we going to protect the Jefferson Memorial from midnight dance parties?

  15. It’s “a” logical next step now that Americans have been conditioned to DUI checkpoints.

  16. I vaguely remember this as a plot point in one of the Deus Ex games.

  17. Ah, we are finally restoring the true meaning of the word ghetto.

  18. In some ways they already do this kind of thing in a lot of cities. I know several people who have accidently gotten lost in places like Camden or Newark only to be pulled over by cops and escorted out of the neighborhood. They were glad to have the help and were really lost. The cops in those neighborhood basically profile white people on the theory that any white person there is either lost and needs help or there to buy drugs.

  19. Actually, Daniel’s reference to Fallujah is very apt.

    As I have said before, Fallujah represents not a temporary security solution for the duration of a civil conflict, but a template for the way our politicians think society should work. Fallujah was an opportunity to test biometrics and to experiment with restructuring society around the perpetual surveillance state, and not really a “crisis” or “emergency” at all.

  20. Great, now every day in DC can be like Halloween weekend in Isla Vista (student neighborhood adjacent to UC Santa Barbara).

  21. Let me guess where these “safe zones” would be. How about west of Rock Creek Park? All those rich white liberals living in NW Washington don’t want any of those dangerous black people coming over to their side of the city

    Actually, my take from that “narrow focus” and “very targeted” bit was the opposite of that. I don’t think you’ll see any harassing of people in Georgetown for their papers or intentions.

  22. This is a very targeted program that has been used in other cities,

    Would it really have been so hard for the reporter to ask “Such as?”. Isn’t this a blindingly obvious question to ask?

    Oh, I forgot. Reporters don’t think, they just report.

  23. Daniel,

    Fallujah was my thought as well.

    I saw a photo of marines using laser scanners to check IDs for Fallujah residents and the first thought that popped into my head was, “Testing the system for use in the next US disaster.” Then I dismissed that thought as too cynical.

    wrong again.

  24. Rearm the citizens of D.C.

  25. It was actually quite effective in Soviet times, street crime was very rare in the old regime as it usually is with totalitarian governments. Even tyranny has at least something on the plus side of the cost benefit analysis…

  26. Just another gated community.

    No…someone else’s gated community…with security paid for by my tax dollars.

    Because the police don’t already have enough to do.

  27. Mick,

    Are you sure about that?

    I have always read that street crime was effectively as common as under the Soviets as it is now, but that the Soviets simply published statistics claiming there was little or no street crime.

    Wasn’t the worst serial killer in world history that Ukrainian guy, whose victims had no warning of his existence because the Soviets concealed information about murders or missing persons?

  28. Back in the US . . Back in the US . . Back in the USSR boys

  29. If the chairman of the police union says it crosses the line, you know it is some seriously fucked up shit. Usually those guys are chomping at the bit for more authority.

  30. “””Other cities, yes. Not other cities in the United States though…””””

    Try NYC under the Guiliani administration, but on a smaller scale.

  31. It also likely violates City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32 (2000) (holding that the difficulty in examining each passing car did not justify suspicionless searches or seizures

  32. Actually, my take from that “narrow focus” and “very targeted” bit was the opposite of that. I don’t think you’ll see any harassing of people in Georgetown for their papers or intentions.

    Yeah, that’s my take as well. Most of this will be east of the Anacostia or in neighborhoods like Trinidad that are known as open-air drug markets where the customers drive in from outside.

    None of which makes it right, of course.

  33. Fluffy,

    Yup. Andrei Chikatilo.

    Had the policeman checked Chikatilo’s bag, he would have found the amputated breasts of Sveta Korostik.

  34. They hate us for our freedom!

  35. If the chairman of the police union says it crosses the line, you know it is some seriously fucked up shit. Usually those guys are chomping at the bit for more authority.

    To be fair, this isn’t always true. Remember that it was the NYC police union that quashed Giuliani’s plan to start strictly enforcing jaywalking laws. The police union felt (correctly) that handing out tickets to thousands of NY’ers for crossing the street would make them unpopular enough that it would be impossible for them to do their jobs.

  36. Try NYC under the Guiliani administration, but on a smaller scale.

    Really? I remember a candidate for Rochester mayor being on the local NPR station a couple of years ago talking about doing this type of thing in Rochester, and the host asked him how he could do it when it violated the state constitution’s guarantees of free passage on all public roads (unless the road was entirely closed, as in the case of construction or weather emergency).

  37. I should also note that toll roads were exempted from that provision….

  38. ChrisO,

    Mayor’s Office says Trinidad is first trial of the program.

  39. In some ways they already do this kind of thing in a lot of cities. I know several people who have accidently gotten lost in places like Camden or Newark only to be pulled over by cops and escorted out of the neighborhood. They were glad to have the help and were really lost. The cops in those neighborhood basically profile white people on the theory that any white person there is either lost and needs help or there to buy drugs.

    Yep. I’ve been racially profiled in Detroit for being white in a poor black neighborhood.
    May I see some identification sir?
    Where are you headed?
    Are you aware that this is an unsafe neighborhood?
    They do the warrant check and I’m on my way. It is difficult to describe how hard it is to not scream anfd holler at these LEOs over the whole thing. I haven’t been frisked yet. When and if that happens I’m certain I’ll get arrested and possibly beaten.

    I see the thread was almost immediately Godwined. Hard not to, isn’t it?

  40. Does Weigel referencing a song from Top Gun mean he’s gay?

    (NTTAWWT)

  41. John: I think it’s Bolivians and Salvadorans who clean houses in Georgetown now.

    As for the article, *yawn*.

    Any drug dealer or criminal with a mediocre level of ambition will be able to steal, forge or buy adequare identification or bribe the cops who are checking ID’s.

  42. I see the thread was almost immediately Godwined. Hard not to, isn’t it?

    Impossible.

    Sorry.

  43. Mayor’s Office says Trinidad is first trial of the program.

    It’s not hard to believe. I read an article in the Post a couple of years ago that described Trinidad as having night-time traffic jams from customers circling the block to buy drugs. Obviously, the Post is all in favor of the war on drugs, but they did paint a believably grim picture of life in Trinidad for the folks who have to cope with their neighborhood being used that way.

    I’ll bet the majority of residents in Trinidad are all in favor of this. Problem is, once the program moves to a different neighborhood, the market and attendant violence will come right back. And in the meantime, the stops will add just another little hassle for people who live in that neighborhood.

  44. “Actually, my take from that “narrow focus” and “very targeted” bit was the opposite of that. I don’t think you’ll see any harassing of people in Georgetown for their papers or intentions.”

    Now that I look at it you are probably right. My initial read was they would set up around the good neighborhoods and make sure no unsavory people get into them.

  45. Episiarch,

    Oh, man, I see our movie tastes are pretty similar. It’s been a while since I saw Sleep With Me but I used to love that one back in the day.

    “Honey, I’m about to cloud up and rain all over you.”

  46. I see an unintended consequence here. Some rich white kids will become drug dealers. Thats what I call market mechanisms!

  47. Yes, another feature added to the Leftist Utopia that is DC. Of course, the grand experiment will not be complete until the walls are erected to prevent escape from Utopia.

  48. “breathtaking” like Elaine or the ugly baby?

  49. Guy,

    Look at the bright side. I could mean another starring role for Kurt Russel as “Snake Plissken”!

  50. Escape from D.C.!! Someone cue the music!

  51. It’s tough enough to get out of D.C. at rush hour as it is.

  52. Chris, Rudy blockaded “problem” blocks in Washington Heights (upper manhattan). The NYPD required you to show ID that you lived on the block before you were allowed to enter a public road.

    The first week or two after 9-11 you had to show ID that you lived below 14th street before they would let you below 14th street. I live below 14 and had to show ID.

    It doesn’t have to be constitutional for them to do it. It has to be unconstitutional to make them stop. Currently the NYPD has a stop and frisk policy. They stop you on the street and frisk you. Sounds unconstitutional to me but they’ve been doing it for over 10 years.

  53. Yikes!! Government officials in Texas unleashing hundreds of officers to take away children after a hoax call, now checkpoint charlies in our nation’s capital! It’s really happening, right?? These aren’t exerpts from a script for a movie call “Amerika” are they?

  54. We’ll know when it’s too late.

  55. This is why we “need” that Real ID, folks, to make Safe Neighborhoods easier to implement.

    Geez.

    I’ll never understand why, when people see the sections of the Death Star assembling themselves, they just don’t shoot the damned thing down. They wait until it’s done and raining doom from the skies, and then bitch that the thing is just too big to fight.

  56. Is there a South African neighborhood in DC? We can just call it “local color”!

  57. Ahh. Weegs, you win points with the Headline. That got a chuckle.

  58. I have the feeling I will be illegally immigrating to Mexico soon.

  59. I get the feeling some of you hate rich white liberals.

  60. I think Mr. Merritt has confused the Death Star and Sinistar.

    Perhaps they don’t shoot the whole thing down because slippery-slope arguments are inherently flimsy?

  61. This was done in Lawrence, MA several years ago.

    Of course, Lawrence is now a crime and drug free paradise.

    Well, not really.

  62. Perhaps they don’t shoot the whole thing down because slippery-slope arguments are inherently flimsy?

    Except when they aren’t, of course. We’re almost at the bottom of this slippery slope, folks, and people are sitting around saying “what slope?”.

  63. I get the feeling some of you hate rich white liberals.

    Um, hate is not quite the word for this. Needs something stronger. Something with more cowbell.

  64. I know plenty of rich white liberals that would be outraged by this, personally.

  65. “””I have the feeling I will be illegally immigrating to Mexico soon.””

    That’s the other purpose for the fence. To prevent your escape.

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