Cops said it appeared that the man had randomly approached the teen as she walked into the lobby of the W. 180th St. building. The victim said her kidnapper dragged her outside by the arm, where he hailed a livery cab on Broadway. On the way, she said, she tried to "catch people's eyes, but every person I walked by was listening to music."We should be safe when the streets are crowded with people. That is the community that should be protecting us. But are all those people really there, or somewhere else? We're all abstracted.
"I kept asking him, 'Why are you doing this? Where are you taking me?'" she said, sitting safely between her parents in their apartment.
In "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," Jane Jacobs writes:
Some of the safest sidewalks in New York City... at any time of day or night, are those along which poor people or minority groups live....
[T]he public peace -- the sidewalk and street peace -- of cities is not kept primarily by police, necessary as police are. It is kept primarily by an intricate, almost unconscious, network of voluntary controls and standards among the people themselves, and enforced by the people themselves... No amount of police can enforce civilization where the normal, casual enforcement of it has broken down.