When David Dinkins was mayor of New York he was very soft on crime. I know this because (among many other reasons) one of the criminals he was soft on very nearly shot me in the 14th St. Subway Station while he was trying to kill one of the other criminals Dinkins didn't think should be in jail. NYC was pandemonium under Dinkins where no honest citizen was safe.
When Rudy Giuliani came into office, he worked on the principle that minor crimes and major crimes are actually being committed by the same people. From that grew the belief that if you arrest these people for jumping the turnstile or tagging the stop sign, and then gave them a hard look, you'll be able to figure out all the other things they're guilty of. This turned out to be quite a lot. And the result under Giuliani was a city where both minor and major crime dropped off a cliff. Times Square went from a third world cesspool of depravity and disease, to a weekend destination for the whole family. I lived at the time on 48th street between Broadway and 8th Avenue, and got to watch much of the transformation first hand.
But this week, Mike Bloomberg has brought another new tablet down from the mountaintop, and upon it he's inscribed a new mandate. He's decided not to prosecute pot as a crime. And since that's so, I suspect things will swing back the Dinkins way at least a little. It's not that I think pot is so bad (although I've never really had much of a taste for it myself). It's that it is still more or less illegal. Most of it is distributed through illegal channels, and those channels inevitably enrich criminals. Those very same criminals also commit crimes that the pro pot lobby probably finds at least as offensive as do the rest of us.
Like I said, I have no big problem with Pot, and if Bloomberg and the people of New York have decided that this is what they want, (along with no salt, trans fats, tobacco, or sugary drinks) then I suppose they're entitled to act on it. But I can't help but believe the result will be worse for New York City not better.
They say that some of the men in NY's prisons are innocent of the crimes they've been convicted of, but none of them is innocent. And having one less excuse to protect the rest of us from the malefactions of others, isn't going to help anyone except the criminals.