Demands for increased public safety are prevalent in both Europe and the United States, and they take similar forms. Do policies based on such notions as zero tolerance, local policing, partnership and mediation serve any real purpose or do they simply act as decoys? In New York City, as elsewhere, improved public safety resulted from the decentralisation of resources and power and, therefore, of responsibilities. In the articles included here, the writers, who are all experts in public safety in their respective countries, examine the issues in a dispassionate manner and offer a comparative study of the results obtained in different countries. Finally, they make some concrete suggestions to resolve the problem of petty crime and incivilities. Sébastian Roché is a professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, in Grenoble. He is the author of Tolérance zéro? Incivilitié et insecurité, published by Editions Odile Jacob.