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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s withdrawal from the presidential race last week is a lost opportunity. A successful de Blasio effort in the Democratic primaries—his was anything but—could have sparked a necessary national debate over signs of rising disorder in American cities.
We haven’t returned to the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s. The troubles of that era had many causes: disappearing jobs, changes in social welfare policy, changes in cultural attitudes, deinstitutionalization of the mental health system, drug wars, crack cocaine, a surging crime rate—all intersecting to drain the vitality of neighborhoods and stamp countless urban tableaus of Dantean despair. For many of the younger new urbanites, noted the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, those days are “little more than sensational headlines from a barely imaginable world.”
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But it is a world not long gone and one that could return. In New York and other urban centers, warning signs are flashing. Overall in New York, for example, the crime rate is down—way down—from the highs of the early 1990s. But shootings are up almost 8% over the previous year. Gun arrests are up more than 20%. Hate crimes have jumped sharply, a 41% increase from the previous year, according to NYPD statistics. The majority of the incidents—152 out of 290—were anti-Semitic.
Some neighborhoods are seeing an alarming increase in major crimes. In the 10 police precincts that make up the Brooklyn North police command, writes journalist Errol Louis, the first five months of 2019 saw an “8% increase in homicides, 10% increase in rapes and a 20% increase in shooting victims.”
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While de Blasio campaigned in South Carolina in June, Louis noted, “a 21-year-old man was shot in the head in the middle of the afternoon” in Crown Heights. It was “an unnerving spring for those of us raising children in...
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Communist, Socialist, Democrat, Republican, at this point, what difference does it make.