A recent uptick in crime—and startling incidents like the Times Square Easter night "wilding" and yesterday's Brooklyn shooting that wounded three including a five-year-old—has people wondering if the "bad old days" of crime are back.
Today, the NY Times says, "It is impossible to know if the recent increase in violent crime... is legitimate cause for concern that the 'bad old days' of crime may return, or if it simply represents a blip in a trend line continuing a descent of nearly two decades." There are fewer NYPD officers, a result of budget cuts, which Mayor Bloomberg calls "worrisome," but he also points out that overall crime has fallen 40% since 2001.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who used the Times Square wilding to call on the state to increase NYPD funding for the city, told the Times, "What is the tipping point? How low can you go, in actual police numbers? And I think what these statistics say, and these other incidents say, especially those who have been around the city all our lives, is we may have tipped a little." And a recent rash of beatings targeting Asian women prompted one Lower East Side resident to say, "Things are bad and they are just going to keep getting worse. These kids are running amok out here... It reminds me of the bad old days."
Yesterday, the Daily News' "bad old days" article included retired cops recounting the dark days: Retired Lt. Joseph Santangelo, who had the graveyard shift at the "volatile 40th Precinct" in the Bronx said, "Picture a pot of boiling water. The lid would pop up in one place, and the cops would press it down. Then it would pop up in another place, and we'd move over there. Eventually, the lid just blew off."