These days, walking through New York City’s Times Square, perhaps the most iconic spot in the nation’s most iconic city, is every bit as invigorating as ever, even in the wee hours. But the rush one feels isn’t due to picking up the pace for fear of muggers or worse.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani achieved a dramatic decrease in the city’s crime rate during his tenure 1994-2001 by stepping up arrests on relatively minor charges while he also was going after organized crime. In addition he pushed for more wholesome entertainment fare in the city’s core, its entertainment district.
Today, there are still positive effects from anti-crime efforts by the former mayor and the current one, Michael Bloomberg. New York police have reported that murders in the city dropped 19 percent in 2012, and the number is expected to be the lowest in 50 years. Considering the close living quarters in the city, the diverse cultures, the overall tensions of urban life, that’s remarkable.
For those who know the city mostly from its image in movies and on television, the news may be greeted with skepticism. After all, every day we’re bombarded with scenes of shootings and all manner of violent crime on “police shows” on television networks, some of them set, yes, right near those spectacular flashing signs in Times Square.
But while “the town so nice they named it twice” isn’t exactly Cary, there’s no argument that it’s made monumental strides in reducing crime and becoming a place to be admired, from the sidewalks of Manhattan, safely.
After the shooting events of late 2012, the drop in New York City’s homicides makes Times Square an especially fitting place to greet 2013 with hopes for a still safer new year.