"Crime is down," is a phrase New Yorkers are getting used to hearing. The notorious peeks in crime during 1970s and '80s, when the city was thought of as dangerous and neglected, gave way in the late 1990s to a steady decrease that has given New York's politicians something to crow about. Mayor Michael Bloomberg certainly hasn't been shy about taking credit for the increased perception of safety on city streets.
"At the end of 2001 the consensus was that crime could not go any lower," said Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne, "but now we are down 35 percent lower than any of the Giuliani years, and the Giuliani administration built its reputation around crime fighting."
In fact, Browne said, if current trends continue, New York is on track this year to have the lowest homicide rate since 1962, when modern record keeping began.
The Deputy Police Commissioner credits Bloomberg's crusade against illegal guns. His organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has waged a full-out assault on the influx of guns into New York from out of state, and Browne said the impact can be felt on the street.
"Stopping the flow of illegal guns into the city has been extremely important," said Browne.
The Gotham Gazette article expresses concern on two fronts. Police on the streets have increasingly used a controversial policy called "stop and frisk." It's controversial for the obvious reasons, blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately selected for the treatment. Yet, supporters say it gets results. The other concern is the ever-increasing electronic surveillance present in the city. Privacy is not what it used to be.
What's your opinion? Are these small prices to pay considering that New York can now boast of being the safest big city in the country? Do you think Bloomberg deserves credit for this? Are his questionable sting operations paying off in his home territory?
Do you agree that the strict gun laws in New York are partly responsible for the improvement?
What's your opinion?