No Turning Back on Crime

According to official statistics compiled by The Observer this week, there were 8,340 murders and “non-negligent manslaughter” cases during David Dinkins’s four years as mayor (1990-1993). There were 7,175 such incidents during Rudy Giuliani’s eight years in City Hall. And there are 5,849 during Mike Bloomberg’s three terms. Let us repeat that. More New Yorkers were killed during four years of Mr. Dinkins than eight years of Mr. Giuliani and 12 years of Mr. Bloomberg.

The dramatic decrease in murders came about even as the city’s population was increasing (not a coincidence, by the way). The city’s population in 1993 was 7.3 million and seemingly destined for further decline amid the mayhem. But last March, the city’s population surpassed 8.3 million. So the city basically added the population of San Jose, Calif., while seeing its murder rate plunge to historic lows.

Here’s the question for the next mayor: How will you ensure that New York remains the safest big city in the country?

It is the question of questions for the new administration, because with public safety all things are possible. Without it, people and businesses begin to look elsewhere. Smart policing changed the perception and the fortunes of New York. If the new tenant in City Hall and his colleagues on the City Council don’t understand this simple fact, we are in for hard times.