The first duty of government, particularly local government, is to ensure public safety. A government that can’t keep its citizens reasonably safe is a failed regime. The central importance of public safety is highlighted by a survey reported in the New York Post:

The poll, released Wednesday by Fontas Advisors/Core Decision Analytics, presented voters with this statement: “My family would have a better future if we left New York City permanently.”

The poll found 59% of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement, while 41% somewhat or strongly disagreed.

That’s a 12 percentage-point jump from voters who were asked the same question a year ago.

Why do a clear majority of New Yorkers say they would be better off somewhere else? Crime.

Crime is by far the most pressing issue on voters’ minds — 41% cited public safety as their most important issue, more than double the 19% of respondents who said inflation/cost of living/gas prices was their biggest concern.

“Crime is the cloud hanging over New Yorkers’ heads right now,” said Matt Lien, vice president at Core Decision Analytics. “New Yorkers are unsure of their future here and want to see change in their neighborhoods. Address crime and you will change New Yorker’s current outlook.”

Notably, only 3% of respondents cited “police reform” as a top issue. Despite all of the nonsense to which we are subjected, people don’t fear the police. They fear criminals.

New York has become hellish for the same reason that a number of other cities are increasingly unlivable: the criminal justice system has broken down. Brazen crime has become a daily threat, but judges habitually return repeat offenders to the streets, over and over again. Idiotic statewide “bail reform” has turned the courts into a revolving door. And with shootings of police officers at a record high, one can only imagine the state of law enforcement’s morale.

I am old enough to remember the 1970s, when it was widely predicted that America’s large cities, starting with New York, would soon become uninhabitable dystopias as a result of rampant crime. That didn’t happen, thanks to Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioners, and thanks to improvements in law enforcement techniques that largely started in New York and fanned out from there. It seems that the lessons of the 1980s, with regard to crime as well as economic growth and foreign policy, need to be re-learned over and over. Bad ideas spring eternal, apparently.

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