chapter  6
29 Pages

The Declining Appearance of Order, 1978–1993

In the summer of 1989, a New York Times/WCBS-TV News poll showed that an overwhelming majority of registered voters had an unfavorable opinion of Mayor Ed Koch. These voters considered the incidence of crime, the trade of crack, and the number of homeless people to have overtaken the city. They blamed Koch for having failed to address these issues and for not deploying an adequate number of police offi cers. Koch had actually tried to deal with all of these matters; he increased the number of police offi cers, opened a number of new homeless shelters, and fought a war on drugs. However, this did not translate into visible improvements, and crime rates, the number of the homeless in public spaces, and the use of crack cocaine increased during his long tenure as mayor (1978-1989).1