Economist Milton Friedman used Central Park, and the theaters and museums of New York as an example of why private groups are better qualified to maintain property. During the 1970s and 80s Central Park was ridden with crime, with more than 3 crimes reported per day. (In 2005 that number was down to less than 5 per month) Friedman juxtaposed Central Park with the privately maintained theaters and museums of New York. These properties have never had issues with violent crime or vandalism. A video of Friedman’s comparison is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbMV3mys-jQ&feature=player_embedded
Clearly Friedman’s analysis is not free from criticism. First, Central Park is tremendously different from a museum. The park is much larger, poorly lit, and entrance and exit can not me monitored like they can from a single building. Furthermore, after the 1980s the park began to be managed much more efficiently: anyone who has visited the park recently can attest to this. However, Friedman’s point still does have some merit. Most museums in New York are privately operated, and most parks publicly operated. Why did the parks at one point become crime ridden, and the museums stayed safe?