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A long way from Fun City

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To the editor:

Mayor Eric Adams continues to present a false, exaggerated and misleading narrative about crime, the homeless and alleged disorder and chaos in the streets and subways. His solutions are to use police for the removal of “undesirables” from public spaces, without providing adequate alternatives, and to increase both police surveillance and interventions. 

One recent example is revealing. NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced a collaboration with Amazon Ring. “The ability to interact online with New Yorkers … adds to the comprehensive crime-fighting strategies already employed by the NYPD,” she said. 

The commissioner should have described “already employed.” It includes drones, mobile X-ray vans and facial recognition. Amnesty International in a survey found that the police have 15,280 surveillance cameras in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx (the Staten Island and Queens counts have not been completed). Police can place images of New Yorkers into facial recognition software, which critics say leads to bias.

The Amazon Ring partnership with the police will dramatically increase surveillance of New Yorkers in a city with the largest and most digitally sophisticated police force. The concern is that this could lead to violations of privacy and other possible abuses. 

We’ve come a long way from Mayor John Lindsay’s “fun city” to Adams’ surveillance city, however much the mayor enjoys partying. 

Howard Elterman

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