Police State Hello, scary police state. How are you? I must be honest – I really wasn’t hoping to see you around here anytime soon. I can’t say I’m surprised, given the rampant fear mongering and obsession with security. All I ask that you at least reach for the Tazer before the gun.

D.C. police will seal off entire neighborhoods, set up checkpoints and kick out strangers under a new program that D.C. officials hope will help them rescue the city from its out-of-control violence.

Under an executive order expected to be announced today, police Chief Cathy L. Lanier will have the authority to designate “Neighborhood Safety Zones.” At least six officers will man cordons around those zones and demand identification from people coming in and out of them. Anyone who doesn’t live there, work there or have “legitimate reason” to be there will be sent away or face arrest, documents obtained by The Examiner show.

Lanier has been struggling to reverse D.C.’s spiraling crime rate but has been forced by public outcry to scale back several initiatives including her “All Hands on Deck” weekends and plans for warrantless, door-to-door searches for drugs and guns.

Nazi Police State

  • Well- it’s a little different given the the Germans pictured above were actually bringing violence instead of trying to stop it.

    But I get your point. It’s probably not constitutional and I certainly wouldn’t want this kind of police action happening in my neighborhood.

    Then again, Clintonville isn’t exactly plauged by “out-of-control violence” (neither is Deleware).

    If it was, I can imagine I might feel differently.

    If I was afraid to leave my house or let my children play outside I might actually welcome the police on to my block.

  • In related news, Columbus will start enforcing a midnight curfew for kids under 18.

  • I understand that, Joseph. But what happened to go ol’ “boots on the ground”? It seems that hiring more cops and getting more patrols in bad areas would help. Why lock down entire neighborhoods and restrict the movements of good citizens? What qualifies as a “legitimate reason”? What would people be arrested for?

    Is “I want to go play Call of Duty 4 split screen with my pal” acceptable?

    Even if I buy into the idea that this kind of total lockdown is the only way possible to solve the crime/violence problem, the rules themselves are unacceptably vague. The Chief of Police has the sole authority necessary to establish a “Neighborhood Safety Zone”, based on nebulous “evidence” requirements.

    Don’t really have a problem with the curfew on minors in Columbus, tho. It’s well established that minors do not have the full rights of citizenship that adults have. And it’s not as if there aren’t reasonable exceptions; nor are the kids subject to being hauled off to jail.

    The police are there to protect and serve. Obviously, I support that. But security has to be balanced with liberty, and this “Neighborhood Safety Zone” business set off a little red flag in my head. They already tried warrantless door-to-door searches, for crissakes.

  • Warrantless, door-to-door searches for drugs and guns are a whole different matter.

    That’s obviously unconstitutional.

    This security zone thing is kind of in a gray area though. Probably could argue freedom of assembly.

    All I was saying is that maybe the people who actually live in these horrible, crime-ridden neighborhoods might appreciate the extra security.

    It’s kind of like people who live in gated communities having the show their pass to the security guard to get into their neighborhood.

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