More ominously, crime and fear of crime continue to drive deeper levels of suburban isolationism. The emerging metropolitan form, with its combination of collapsed urban center and sprawling suburban edge city, with its overlays of race and demonization, constitutes a direct challenge to the ideal of democratic nationhood. 51
We cannot wish our real urban problems away, but we can make real choices among different orientations toward managing them. Crime will remain an important urban problem for a long time to come no matter what we do about it. But governing through crime reproduces the mentalities and strategies that have helped bring us to this impasse. With the right political choices, we could begin to change those mentalities and strategies tomorrow.