Have We Already Reverted Back to the New York of the 1980s?

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Sure, there have been a lot of tame jokes about rising crime in “de Blasio’s New York” (and Joe Lhota’s gloating response to a break-in at Keri Russell’s place was simply, “I told you guys this would happen”) but have we really already plunged back into the fearful, crime-ridden bad old days? Even with murder (and most other crime) at a record low? Well, if hypothetical Superbowl attendees are to be believed (they are, aren’t they?), those days actually never left!

A new poll commissioned by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies found that 33 percent of potential attendees see violent crime as their biggest fear about a visit to the city, followed by the weather (25 percent) and terrorism (24 percent). Even worse, 26 percent of those polled claimed to not feel safe using public transportation, and said they’d feel safer staying in New Jersey, where things haven’t exactly been looking so hot, crime-wise. I guess it’s not so shocking that people who haven’t been to New York over the past couple of decades (or ever) still have it in their heads as the city of The Warriors and Home Alone 2—I recently had a relative tell me he didn’t have any interest in visiting the city ever in his life, at all—but still sort of a strange slap in the face given the much-publicized and genuinely dramatic drop in crime the city’s seen over the past 15 years.

Elsewhere, there was news of a rare (but still scary) mugging in Central Park, in which an attacker deemed his victim’s flip phone too shitty to even bother stealing. Meaning, then, that the Chubb Group’s advice to “leave the bling at home” during a trip to the big city may actually be pretty sound. That, and if we’re saying “bling” again, we’ve probably cycled back to 2003, not 1986.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.