NEW YORK CITY—“You can never do enough, but New York is betterprepared than any city that I'm aware of,” RaymondKelly, former New York City policecommissioner and now president of risk managementservices at Cushman & Wakefield, saidat RealShare New York. Yet amid the rise ofISIS to prominence on the global stage and withsome 16 terrorist plots against the city foiled since 9/11, NewYork remains a target and will be one for a long time, Kelly saidduring a one-on-one interview with Michael G.Desiato, vice president and group publisher ofALM's Real Estate Media Group.


While the possibility of a physical act of terror is cause forconcern on its own, it's hardly the only risk that commercial realestate needs to manage. As the hacking incidents at Target andJPMorgan Chase have illustrated, cybersecurity hasbecome “a major challenge,” Kelly told the 300-plus industryprofessionals gathered at the Roosevelt Hotel on Thursday. In thecase of the JPMorgan cyberattack that affected some 76 millionpersonal and business accounts, some experts have speculated that“it was just a shot across the bow.”


While so-called “hacktivists” who are motivated by their ownagendas represent one avenue of cybercrime, the sheer quantity ofmalware on the Web means that the issue is more widespread thanthat. Some hackers commit the online equivalent of breaking andentering just for the fun of it, and Kelly pointed out, “A lot ofintrusions are the result of carelessness on the part ofemployees.”


A number of industry leaders who took the stage during thisyear's RealShare New York conference made the point that a feelingof public safety was essential to maintaining thecity's quality of life, and Kelly cited the findings ofcriminologist Franklin Zimring. In his 2011 book The City ThatBecame Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and ItsControl, Zimring wrote that the city's 80% reduction in crimesince 1990 “had never been seen in the developed world—the breadthand depth,” Kelly said.


Zimring's book credited “more effective police work” for theunprecedented decline in crime, Kelly said. “You in the commercialreal estate world know how important that reduction in crime andincreased sense of public safety has been to your business.” Heexpressed concern over the “negative signals” being sent by the deBlasio administration, worrying that the current administration'smessages could discourage police officers from making the kind ofefforts that helped drive homicides, robberies and other feloniesdownward during the Giuliani and Bloomberg years.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.