Few are unaware of the celebrated clean-up of New York in the 1990s. But who led the transformation from declining city to vibrant metropolis? The NYPD. By targeting the aggressive panhandlers, public urinators, squeegee men and other "quality of life" criminals that plagued the streets, police restored public order and created a substantial drop in major crime rates.
Heather Mac Donald, John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal, explained how the police, routinely criticized as racists and civil rights violators, provide the public order that allows communities to flourish and individuals to prosper. Mac Donald, a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize for Intellectual Achievement, is the author of numerous books, including Are Cops Racist?—an investigation of the workings of the police, the controversy over so-called racial profiling, and the anti-profiling lobby's harmful effects on black Americans. Her work on police "racism" is especially timely as three New York City officers are on trial for the shooting death of Sean Bell, a young African American. Heather's recent City Journal article "The Reclamation of Skid Row," described LAPD efforts to clean up a notoriously lawless 50 square block area.