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Some OK curbing rights to fight terrorism: poll

Catherine Tymkiw / New York Business | April 14 2006

Nearly a third of New York City voters say it is okay for the government to violate civil liberties in order to prevent terrorist acts, according to a poll released Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed voters about how the police handled protestors during the 2004 Republican National Convention, where thousands of demonstrators were arrested. Most of the charges were later dismissed.

Forty-nine percent of voters thought the police were too aggressive with protestors, according to the poll. Yet 29% of those surveyed said it would be okay to limit civil rights.

"A lot of New Yorkers think the police might have crossed the civil liberties line in controlling protestors," said Maurice Carroll, director of Quinnipiac's polling institute, but they do approve "a couple of control techniques."

The New York City Police Department is installing 505 surveillance cameras in high-crime neighborhoods and areas considered potential terrorist targets and 80% of respondents said that's a good idea.

A majority of poll respondents gave a thumbs-up to the police: 72% of residents said they approve of the job the NYPD is doing. Seventy-five percent said they're doing a good job protecting their neighborhoods and 65% think the city is a "somewhat safe" place to live.

The results mirror a recent survey by Marist College that found 41% of voters think New York is a safer city since Mayor Michael Bloomberg started his first term.

From April 4 to 10, Quinnipiac surveyed 1,316 New York City registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.7%. Marist surveyed 654 registered city voters from March 23 to 27.

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