Numerically, perhaps. I'm not sure that they pass ethical/constitutional litmus tests, given the very, very, very disproportionate racial impact of (for one thing) stop and frisk.
Speaking of NYC, I always wondered about the economic renovation of Times Square (from seedy vice district to family friendly theme park) and how much that has impacted crime rates. Certainly the gentrification of Brooklyn is moving crime from out of there to wherever folks are being displaced to. But that's a whole other conversation.
Agreed on all fronts. It's kind of the chicken and the egg question. Was it the influx of money or was it the police presence that changed NYC? I would argue a little bit of both.
I do think that the police department deserves credit for cleaning the streets in the mid to late 90's, the constitutionality of their methods can be debated ad nauseam, I don't think a lot of what they did was constitutional, but it's hard to deny the results. That said, let's be realistic here, they merely made it difficult for folks to partake in seedy businesses out in the open. You can still buy drugs, and get your dick sucked if you want to but everything is now behind close doors. However, the police presence is still there and one could argue that it serves as a pretty strong deterrent. During the same time period the "suits" decided they were tired of the burbs and started to reclaim Manhattan. I recently saw a census graph on Reddit which showed the change in household incomes and cost of living in NYC over the last 20 years. As you can imagine the numbers are staggering. What else is there to say about the socioeconomic change in NYC other than there are now brownstones in Harlem that sell for $3-$4 million dollars a piece on a monthly basis.
Brooklyn on the other hand is a slightly different story. Artist and folks looking for a more authentic NYC experience were the fist people to move into Park Slope and Wililamsburg, primarily after the "suits" displaced them from Manhattan. In the early 00s gentrification started to happen, faster then anywhere else I've seen or heard of. There is a pretty good blog on topic called Brownstoner. The only other place I can think of to compare Brooklyn to is Hoboken, but what has happened in Brooklyn has far outpaced the changes in Hoboken.
Bringing our conversation back to the original topic, I hate myself for saying this, because it is such a loaded statement, but the truth of the matter is that investment bankers "might" commit a lot of white collar crimes but they sure as shit are not going to rob folks at gunpoint or shoot each other. Even more telling is the fact that they get around NYC without having a need to carry a gun on them for protection. Life moves along, business as usual without the need for guns.
That said NYC like every other city on this planet is not absent of crime, criminals and corruption but a the end of the day anyone who's lived in the area can attest that the last 20 years have brought about a new high.