Roz Abrams’ October 1993 interview with eventual New York City Mayor-elect Rudy Giuliani focused on the candidate’s strategies to increase police presence throughout the public realm, putting more officers on the streets, in schools, and in public housing developments. Through a managerial process referred to as “civilianization,” Giuliani planned to restructure the New York City Police Department by hiring civilians to work administrative and non-police functions within the agency, thus freeing more police officers to patrol the streets. These police officers, according to Giuliani, would be especially emboldened inside of schools and within a two-block radius surrounding them, a strategy that would be supplemented by increased use of technology such as metal detectors. The police presence in public housing would similarly be increased in response to the current levels of crime — especially youth crime, which witnessed dramatic increases during the first half of the 1990s.
The legacies of Giuliani’s police force, emboldened across the public sphere — on streets, in schools, and in housing — would be distinctly felt within each of these realms. Increasingly militarized schools and streets were studied, surveilled, and patrolled as “territories.” Giuliani’s words had a particular resonance in public housing, at a time when government and non-government forces alike were attempting to erode both its presence and credibility within New York and across the country.