Rudy Giuliani is widely credited for turning around New York City, taking it from a crime-ridden mess to a relatively safe city. He did this by concentrating on the small things. His police were instructed to stop the minor, "gateway" crimes as well as to hammer hard at the bigger offenders.
My wife and I visited New York City not long before 9/11 and were able to walk from our hotel to see Les Misérables with no problem. The last time I had been in New York City, in the mid-1970s, Times Square was a combat zone. Rudy made a huge difference to that city. Now, however, the city is beginning to slide back.
Does it feel some days as if New York– wealthy, successful, seemingly at the top of the world — is slipping back into the bad old days of crime, noise, dirt, rudeness? Like pentimento rising from an old canvas, the traces of New York's previous misery are appearing on the streets and in the subways — graffiti, aggressive panhandling, open drug dealing, filthy public areas, ear–splitting noise, screeching sirens, a sense of disorder we thought was gone. It's not "Soylent Green" again, but the old Hollywood sense of lawless New York is rearing its ugly head.
Worse, something menacing seems to be happening with violent crime. The newspapers have been filled recently with stories about horribly vicious cases — the trial, for example, that ended last week in a 44–count guilty verdict against the man accused of the brutal rape and torture of a Columbia University student living in Hamilton Heights, a seemingly safe neighborhood.
The new mayor, Michael Bloomberg is very, very concerned with trans fats and the harvesting of organs. Crime? Not so much, it would seem. Quality of life for the taxpaying citizens? Very little. I'd urge you to read the entire article I linked, because the slide is definitely there and it appears to be accelerating rapidly. The author of the article tries mightily to praise Bloomberg but it is obvious that there is something very, very wrong happening in the Big Apple.