Mayor de Blasio and his top cop took time Tuesday to brag on the latest crime stats, reminding New Yorkers that they still live in the safest big city in America.
And they do, too — though some folks surely are less impressed with the numbers than others, and the rest are growing uneasy.
Among the likely doubters is Dana Sagona, 31, of Sunnyside, who had her faced slashed on a Brooklyn street corner at 8 a.m. Sunday, apparently for her purse.
Also, the 24-year-old Upper West Sider and her family terrorized last Thursday by a knife-wielding parolee in a home invasion.
And the family of Dorothy Dixon of Brooklyn, fatally wounded by a stray bullet in broad daylight Monday while working at a Coney Island construction site.
Plus the by-standing straphangers in the 7 train’s 90th Street station Sunday, when one gang-banger settled a professional dispute with a handgun.
And that’s just a week’s worth of high-profile police-blotter bulletins — scary stuff for a supposedly pacified city, wouldn’t you say?
And that’s the question: Do you feel safe?
Alas, there is cold comfort in knowing that only one woman in a city of 8.5 million took a 44-stitch slash across her face Sunday morning. And that just a single construction worker was shot down on the job.
The home invasion is a rarity — and the likelihood of the average subway rider being caught up in an MS-13 gang assassination on any given day is inestimably small.
Surely, the odds are in your favor.
But that question hovers: Do you feel safe? If the answer is no, you can be forgiven.
Monday morning around 10 a.m., a dilapidated John the Baptist lookalike stood preaching gibberish on the northwest corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue — not at all an uncommon sight now that de Blasio’s NYPD no longer bothers with petty disturbances of the peace.
But to those passing by, the fellow was more than an intrusion. They stepped around him, moving quickly and furtively — if not anxiously. New Yorkers are aware of how easily displays of insanity can become violent outbursts.
Such concerns don’t show up in the stats — how would one quantify them? — but disorder has become ubiquitous as de Blasioville abandons quality-of-life policing in favor of the low-impact sort.
That is, the kind where cops stand about like potted plants until something happens — then speed over to sop up the blood and to comfort the victims.
For example, City Hall and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. have effectively decriminalized transit-fare evasion, freeing young gunsels to travel carefree while armed — with entirely predictable consequences: At least two of the three assailants in Sunday’s 7-line murder reportedly were turnstile jumpers, and it’s an open question whether the shooter would even have brought his weapon on board if he had had to worry about being searched during a fare-evasion bust.
That’s speculative, sure, but history suggests it’s reasonable — and it’s beyond doubt that Sunday’s subway assassination has straphangers thinking twice about descending into the tunnels.
For not only is murder afoot, but also unwashed derelicts, threatening behavior, open drug use, undifferentiated filth and suffocating odors.
It’s not entirely de Blasio’s subway system — and it’s not yet his city, not even in microcosm. Not yet.
But that’s how the trend arrow points — and New Yorkers get it. For them, perception is reality — Kaiser Wilhelm’s happy stats notwithstanding.
This piece originally appeared at New York Post
Bob McManus is a contributing editor of City Journal. He retired as editorial page editor of the New York Post in 2013 and has since worked as a freelance editor, columnist, and writer.
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