On July 24, New Haven, Conn., began issuing multi-purpose municipal services cards that serve as identification and pre-paid debit cards for all residents regardless of age or immigration status. The cards will be recognized by the city and police as acceptable forms of identification, and can be used to obtain city services, open bank accounts and pay for parking or goods and services at participating retailers.

The cards cost $10 for adults and $5 for children, and contain “smart chips” by Hampton Falls, N.H.-based Parcxmart Technologies that can store up to $150 and are reloadable. The Elm City Resident Card program was designed in part to improve public safety in the city, where an estimated 10 percent of the population is comprised of undocumented immigrants, many of whom were becoming targets for crime and were reluctant to report crimes to the police because of their status. For more information, visit www.cityofnewhaven.com.