Leprechaun & Frank,
I can't say how much I agree with you both, and I have a little story to with you to prove that getting cops back to walking a beat works.
(she gets up on her soap box)
In 1992 I graduated from college in NYC. I started to look for an apartment, but they were all to expensive to rent on 8 dollars an hour, even with a roommate. So, I started looking in more marginal areas. The areas that were just slightly over the line. (For those of you that haven't lived in NYC, there are boundry lines that people are sometimes scared to go over. 99th st on the west side of Manhattan is one, 96th st on the east side is another. There are various lines like this that are drawn all over the city, denoting the "good" neighbor hoods from the "bad") So, I started to look in "bad" neighbor hoods, and found myself a WONDERFUL apartment in Spanish harlem on 105th st, 10 blocks over the boundry line. It was big, it had annemnites, it was cheap,...anyway. When I looked at it, the real estate agent kept asking me if I was sure I wanted it, but what he was really saying was are you sure a seemingly nice, young, white girl really wants to live here. (Spanish harlem has had at times a really horrific drive by and murder rate.) I took it, but finding a roommate was a real problem because no one wanted to live over the unwritten line. Fortunately for me, that was when Guliani started putting lots of police on foot in certain neighborhoods. Mine was one. There was a police station 3 blocks away and they began to clamp down on the little things, noise problems, cars parked in the wrong spot, kids swearing on the street. They really started setting the tone for the neighborhood-basically what was civil and polite, the idea being fix the little things, and the big ones will follow, and it worked. In the time I was there I saw several driveby's, but that was only in the first year or so. Today, the neighborhood is in an upswing. It's being renamed upper yorkville. The yuppies are starting to move north. The areas of the city where this didn't occur, however, are still plagued with problems. There was one police station in Brooklyn that I recall walking past and thinking it was either a war zone or a medieval castle, and that neighborhood has not recovered.
My two cents about getting the cops back on the street. I'll get down off my soapbox & give it to someone else.