London is returning to an era of neighbourliness and low crime, and its inhabitants are happy to leave their front doors open, according to the country's most senior policeman.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said the work of community-based Safer Neighbourhood Teams was making people feel as safe as they did 25 years ago.
In an interview with the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Sir Ian told of a recent visit to Haringey in North London, where he met two officers who had "adopted" a tower block.
He asked: "How long is it since the police patrolled the corridors of a tower block?
"It's as if, when the slums they replaced were flattened and they put that up, the police stopped patrolling, so it's quite an interesting concept, and people are opening their doors, leaving their doors open now, or leaving then unlocked, certainly, in a way they haven't done for 25 years, so there's some interesting things going on."
Sir Ian likened the leaders of the neighbourhood police teams to "the sheriff" who dealt with matters in their area.
Metropolitan Police Authority member Damian Hockney said that Sir Ian's remarks were "truly extraordinary".
Neil Williams, Liberal Democrat leader on Haringey council, also said he was surprised by the comments.
He said: "Community policing has brought enormous benefits in making people safer and encouraging them to report crime.
"But we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater - people still need to take sensible precautions with their home security and I'm sure the police officers in that area would say that, too."