Sunday, September 09, 2007

Safe city

One of the opportunities to get rich in the Big Apple

New York is the first city where so much happens, that I cannot possibly write everything on my blog. There would be so many storylines that the posts will be totally unstructured. And that's why every time I have to write in themes. And the theme of this post is: criminality.

I expected the worst when I went to New York. You hear a lot of stories about murder, pickpockets and robbery. But my experience is that the big apple is actually one of the safest places to live. You can safely walk on the streets at night because there are always people around, there's a lot of security and police walking around with flashlights at night and the government has a very strict criminality policy.

One of the anti-crime measures is to put stickers with the maximum fine you can get when you do something. So now I know that maltreating a subway employee can lead to seven years of jail. Putting household trash in a trashcan on the streets: $100 dollar. What's next: stickers that warn you about returning library books too late? (hm...they probably do that already).

Another way of preventing crime is to offer rewards for information that can lead to arrest. You can get $1000 dollar if you turn in somebody who carries a weapon. And as you can see on the poster above, seeing somebody shooting a cop is like winning a lottery.

This is actually quite tricky. What if they go to far with this reward policy? There's a risk that you create a gestapo-environment, where nobody can be trusted. So you even have to look around you if you throw your chewing gum on the streets. Luckily, they only offer rewards for major crimes. And I think it's necessary in a city with more people than the entire population of Holland. And whatever the government does, it seems to work and that's a great achievement.

You still have to avoid certain neighborhoods here, but that's okay. It's not very sensible to walk alone in a dark, industrial district of Brooklyn or in the slums of the Bronx. But in the places where I go I feel safe. A lot of things happens in New York, but I'm glad crime isn't one of those things.


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