Here’s a quote from today’s lead editorial in the New York Times that leaves us breathless.
…but policing is far better than it used to be, thanks to innovations by Mayor David Dinkins and in particular Mr. Giuliani’s police commissioner, William Bratton.
We’ll concede Bratton’s effect on metropolitan crime, but…”innovations by Mayor David Dinkins?”
Not that there weren’t any. Dinkins pursued a unique approach to the city’s street thugs; he decided they weren’t there. Under his administration, the police were instructed to disregard all but the most flagrant criminal activity. Streetcorners became drug marts. City parks, already notoriously unsafe, became jammed almost elbow-to-elbow by furtive young men accosting all passers-by with murmurs of “Smoke?” Panhandlers grew astonishingly aggressive, including the notorious “squeegee men,” who invented a novel form of blackmail: either you forked over a buck or they would smear your windshield with a greasy rag.
Gangs flourished. The crack epidemic raged unchecked. Mob rule was the order of the day; what Dinkins is chiefly remembered for in New York City are the Crown Heights riots, when violent thugs ransacked a Jewish Orthodox community as the police stood by watching.
Crime statistics took a small dip, but crime did not. What went unreported still happened. No one was fooled. New York during the Dinkins era was New York at its dirtiest and most dangerous.
Now New York has a mayor-presumptive, Bill de Blasio, who is running on a not-very-well-disguised class warfare platform, and the Times reassures us that he poses no threat to the city’s security.
The conservatives’ theme is that the city is stable and safe today only because of the strong hands of the Republican Rudolph Giuliani and the on-and-off Republican Michael Bloomberg, and that disaster is right around the corner in the form of squeegee men and vagrants, crack houses and near-bankruptcy.
This is nonsense….
And of course it is. No conservative believes disaster is right around the corner. It will take time, and the see-no-evil attitude of the Dinkins administration, but those times are not so distant that the stench does not still linger for those who lived through it. Please, Mr. de Blasio, let’s have no more Dinkins-style “innovations.”