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This is What Happens to a Disarmed Populace: Operation Clean Halls Edition

 Opeation Clean Halls (courtesy

“Jay Victorino was standing outside his mother’s apartment when he was grabbed by police, and he says if she hadn’t come downstairs to identify him he would’ve been arrested on a trespassing charge,” the AP reports. “That’s because his mother’s South Bronx building is one of thousands of private dwellings patrolled by the New York Police Department under a program known as Operation Clean Halls.” According to, Operation Clean Halls “offers police patrols in residential buildings to prevent drug use and sales. Landlords can request that the police conduct patrols in the hallways and stairwells of their building to remove non-residents who are loitering.” Ah yes, loitering. Not to mention any other crime the cops detect. Sherman, set the Way Back Machine for the 1990’s . . .

Operation Clean Halls started in Manhattan in the 1990s, when crime was at an all-time high and some private building owners felt overwhelmed with wrongdoing inside their properties. Now, there are more than 3,000 participating buildings around the city, mostly in higher-crime areas such as the South Bronx. To enroll, a building owner or manager signs paperwork allowing police to enter and arrest people found to be committing crimes.

Edifices citywide are dotted with small white square signs alerting residents that their homes are patrolled by police. Some are huge complexes, others are small brownstones. Officers have conducted hundreds of thousands of patrols up and down stairwells and even more outside. They catch drug transactions, shoo away loiterers and break up fights, residents say.

“It’s good for us. It’s great. We love it. Otherwise, people are in the hallways all the time up to no good,” 77-year-old Courtney Campbell said, recalling a time when people would urinate in her hall.

But others say they can’t go home without being menaced. In August 2011, Ligon sent her teenage son to the corner store get ketchup for the fries she was making for dinner. He didn’t return.

Eventually, a police officer rang her doorbell and told her over the intercom to come down and identify her boy.

“I thought he was dead,” she said. “I ran down the stairs, and when I saw him there, I just collapsed.”

Ligon said her son later was arrested on a trespassing charge but the charge was dropped.

“I want the harassment to stop,” she said. “It’s not right.”

It may not be right. And I’d bet dollars to donuts those 3000 buildings are home to some police shakedowns. But it is legal. Well, the patrolling part. In The City That Never Sleeps, private land owners can sign away their residents’ privacy right up to their doorway. Of course, if the cop “happens” to look in and see illegal activity . . .

The AP article digresses into a look at the connection between the city’s “stop and frisk” policy, racism and Operation Clean Halls. Yada yada yada. The bigger point: this is what happens when you surrender your right to armed self-defense to the government.

When you rely on the cops for your safety, you live by their rules. People stop urinating in your hallways, but you create a police state right there on your doorstep. How great is that?


  1. avatar Daniel Silverman says:

    Wow and if they were wearing Nazi uniforms it would really complete the picture now wouldn’t it?
    On a serious note there is a difference between increased police presence and the intimidation and shake downs we are seeing here. The police can work with citizens to police themselves, and respond to calls regarding bad guys hanging on their street corners. This is just taking it way to far!
    Just waiting for some Girl Scouts to he arrested for selling cookies door to door. That should go over real well…

    1. avatar William says:

      The NYPD is not exactly know for cooperating with citizen groups; they’re a lot more well known for being cooperated WITH.

    2. avatar My Name Is Bob says:

      WHERE ARE YOUR PAPERS!!! Zee papers!!!

  2. avatar William says:

    Any landlord who would sign onto this tyranny-on-a-stick needs to be beaten senseless with said stick.

    No SITTING? No BALL PLAYING? There go the doo-wop groups of the future; there go the up-by-their-bootstraps ballplayer success stories of the future.

    THERE GOES THE FUTURE, PERIOD. Up in smoke, ground under a cop’s own boot heels.

    GODDAMMIT! I’m so mad I’m shaking like a leaf.

  3. avatar anonymous says:

    The Scars of Stop and Frisk” (6 minute video)

    1. avatar John Fritz says:

      Your linky is broken.

    2. avatar anonymous says:

      > Your linky is broken.

      Thanks. Here’s the URL:

      The Scars of Stop-and-Frisk
      June 12, 2012
      by Julie Dressner and Edwin Martinez

      A short documentary film on New York’s stop-and-frisk policing focuses on Tyquan Brehon, a young man in Brooklyn who says he was stopped more than 60 times before age 18.

  4. avatar Nine says:

    I’d resist coming with the corrupt bastards.

    Will the next youth shooting be one walking down the hall with ketchup and mustard instead of tea and skittles?

    1. avatar pat says:

      I wouldnt call ‘skittle boy’ an innocent child. Burgler who is casing the joint should not let his temper get the best of him and try to crush the skull of the ‘neighborhood watchman’, then get his just rewards.

  5. avatar Rydak says:

    This story seems to skip a part, a big part. Doesn’t matter why the police were there so much as what did the son do that may have provoked the confrontation. If he was just walking to the store and back to home…is it realistic to think that the police would have just beat him like that for just walking? Meh…. something missing here Robert. Something BIG.

    I wouldn’t want police around my house all the time either, but seriously, don’t ya think there is a very big part of this story missing?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Ipso facto. There’s always a big part of every story missing.

      1. avatar Rydak says:

        True, but the foundation of your story relies on what this particular part is.

        If I was walking down the street and two police officers jumped me and started beating me for no reason, that’s big. Thats a travesty of justice and a news worthy story.

        If I was walking down the street and two police officer stopped me and said I looked like a murder suspect they were looking for, please identify yourself. And then I said, “you’ll never take me alive” and started fighting……thats not a story. Thats police doing their job and a nutcase getting a dose of much needed justice.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          The story is NYC Police patrolling inside 3000 privately owned buildings. (On the taxpayers’ dime, I might add.)

        2. avatar Michael B. says:

          Rydak you’d never have to worry about that because you’re a cop.

          But if you were in another city off-duty and some of that city’s cops jumped you and started beating on you before you could identify yourself as one of the tribe, their coworkers would probably justify it to themselves and say you must’ve had it coming.

    2. avatar mountocean says:

      I didn’t see where the kid got a beating, his mom was just scared by the phrase, “…identify your son”, likely thinking the son was in a condition to be unable to identify himself.

  6. avatar Eric says:

    And how do they know who is and isn’t supposed to be there you wonder? By saying “Papers please”. Okay maybe not. I doubt that they ever use the word “please”.

  7. avatar Rebecca says:

    It’s just another sign that there’s too damned many people in that too little area. 8 million people crammed into 468 square miles? That’s 17,094 people per square mile. That’s no way to live.

    1. avatar Brooklyn in da house says:

      8 mil on paper but its more like 15 mil.

  8. avatar Gyufygy says:

    Signing on for free security for your building sounds great from a landlord’s perspective… until it’s the NYPD. Then you start putting plungers under lock and key.

  9. avatar Mike Taylor says:

    This is more an issue of what happens in low income and government subsidized housing projects. I am going to sound a bit snobbish here, but when a person lives in a situation that can be equaled to cockroaches in a box, there will be consequences. It does make me curious to see an overlay of housing violations and Clean Halls participants. That, and does the city offer incentives for private owners to accept the patrols?

  10. avatar maynard says:

    The tyranny begins with rent control and all the other crap that goes with it. If the landlord could remove problem people from their property, then they wouldn’t need to o ‘invite’ the cops. A gubmit ‘fix’ creates a problem, so the result is more, bigger gubmint to ‘fix’.

  11. avatar tdiinva says:

    I agree with the main point of the article. If people can’t protect themselves then bad things happen. However, buildings are private property and the owner has right to make these agreements for policy patrols in the common areas. His property rights trump our dislike for the arrangement. If you don’t like it don’t live there. Once again there are many more rights in the Constitution than the right to bear arms.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Agreed. I’m not saying there ought to be a law. I’m saying the no-guns (i.e. statist) mindset sets society down a slippery slope to a police state.

      1. avatar mike chandler says:

        what did any of the story have to do with guns ? the landlord lets police roam the halls do reduce people loitering, they don’t walk into peoples apartments unannouced. they can still have guns in their homes, and this law came into effect well before the safe act. so it has nothing to do with that. i agree with tdiivna, if you dont like the building dont live there. id rather have a couple walk by and ask people what they are doing than a heroin addict shooting up outside my door. but i live in indiana so im good.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          This story has todo with the lack of guns.

      2. avatar Michael B. says:

        There are plenty of pro-gun statists, by the way.

        It’s just that there are far more pro-gun liberty lovers than anti-gun ones, especially here at the lovely TTAG. After being immersed in this community it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we’re a minority when you consider the whole of the population.

        Important to remember that, methinks, and be vigilant.

  12. avatar Lucubration says:

    “Ah yes, loitering.”

    I was suddenly reminded of:
    “What are you in for?”
    “Murder. Banditry. Assault. Theft… and Lollygagging.”

    1. avatar Nine says:

      I was thrown in jail for lollygagging in Skyrim, no joke.

  13. avatar Ben says:

    Since when are the taxpayers supposed to pay for what is essentially a freely provided private security force? Since New York I guess…

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      The property owner pays taxes. It’s not a free service. It is in the both parties interest to see that the owner maximizes the value of his property. Having derelicts, gangbangers and drug addicts hanging around is not considered a positive amenity.

      1. avatar Michael B. says:

        I’d be interested in knowing if he pays his taxes (and enough of them) directly to the department to cover the salary of these guys roaming his hallways.

      2. avatar Brooklyn in da house says:

        I dont know if you have ever been to the South Bronx but there is no such thing as a positive amenity around there.

  14. avatar ChuckN says:

    Lets see them try this in little Italy or Triad territory.

  15. avatar Gs650g says:

    I bet it’s tough to cancel their patrols once they start.

  16. avatar OkieRim says:

    I can honestly say there is no way in hell I will ever step foot in NYC or Chicago (been there anyways) for anything, both cities are run by criminal syndicates that are hell-bent on making subjects out of their citizens.

  17. avatar orangeblue says:

    That sort of program isn’t uncommon. My parents live in Broward County, FL; Broward Sheriff’s Office runs a Trespass Program. Property owner fills out the form, posts a sign (, and cops get permission to trespass people from the property.

  18. avatar gringito says:

    Is THIS the land of the free???

  19. avatar Jeh says:

    NYC continues to prove its self as the Communist / Nazi experiment we all know it to be. How much you want to bet the cops then got in their car and smoked some of the weed they’ve confiscated that day? Typical crooked police, disgraceful. Assuming their not crooked, their still completely ignoring common sense.

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