Tenants protest photo ID cards at Harlem apartment

March 19, 2012 8:07:59 PM PDT
In an effort to keep tenants safe an apartment complex in Harlem has beefed up security.

It sounded like a good idea, but management announced all guests were required to get their photos taken by security.

Have they gone too far?

Many residents say without a doubt.

More than 100 tenants at 3333 Broadway turned out for a peaceful protest Monday night.

They are asking management to reconsider a plan that would require everyone there to use photo ID cards to get into the building.

Outside 3333 Broadway, dozens of tenants from one of the country's largest apartment complexes turned out to protest new photo ID key cards.

"I have over 2,000 petitions signed by tenants in the building that we are against the lockdown," said Alicia Barksdale, of the Tenants Association.

Tenants are concerned that the new system, swiping a card to get inside and signing in all visitors, will be time-consuming and inefficient, in a complex with almost 2,200 apartments.

"With the numbers here, it is totally impossible. You need to make sure the system works before you give it to people to use it," said Norma Gray, a tenant.

The building owner, Urban American, released a statement saying, "The key card system we are rolling out now is designed simply to make the premises safer and more secure for the people living in the building. It will be used only to prevent strangers and outsiders from gaining unauthorized access."

The system is in place already at The Heritage on 110th Street with mixed reviews.

"If someone finds your card, they know your address, where you live, I think there's too much information on the card," said Kadijah Shepard, a tenant.

"I think it's good that they're checking who's going into the building," said Jon Alters, a tenant.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer wrote a letter asking management to reconsider what he called a "failed system (that had caused) repeated and prolonged interruption of essential services" in other buildings.

3333 tenants have vowed to continue to protest the change.

"We're not going anywhere, we'll be right here," said Thomas Vitto, a tenant.

The building is in part of the Columbia expansion, and long-time residents are worried they'll be kicked out.

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