I have generally found that most foreigners and immigrants have a much harsher perspective on handling crime than Americans. Many developed countries engage in law enforcement activity that Americans would consider the mark of a police state. I've found most of those people, however, find it outrageous that Americans would be so obsessed with perceived freedom that they'd be willing to sacrifice quality of life and overall safety. The difference is that they're focused on prevention whereas American obsess about deterrence via punishment.
I'm not arguing they're right necessarily but it's hard to argue when cities in most first world nations are safer than American cities. I was generally oblivious to this until I lived in Taiwan for several years. It was refreshing to be able to go out at 3am and not have to worry about being mugged. Not that there weren't problems, particularly in Southern Taiwan and especially seedy neighborhoods. And sometimes I suspect crime in other countries in under reported. There's a lot of petty crime that I think is not adequately represented. But even then it's nothing compared to how rough things can get in the US. And to think that Japan somehow manages to be on another level.
Crime also doesn't tell the whole story. In Taiwan, if you really had to go looking for trouble. Otherwise no one gave you a hard time, even as a foreigner. In America, however, wander into certain neighborhoods with the wrong skin color and it's a near inevitability you'll get harassed. And usually the harassment comes from some punk teenager, which is a bit of a concerning trend. Where I used to live in the US was a borderline neighborhood that straddled the line between okay and bad neighborhoods. A week didn't go by that some asshole didn't make remarks about me, as a white guy, being out for a jog.
Inevitably, you learn to avoid trouble areas and I think Americans as a culture do that constantly. The problem is that it's the equivalent to sweeping the problem under the rug. And Americans seem to have a habit of reinterpreting statistics to suit some deluded world view. Take incarceration stats. People look at the numbers and assume there's some grand conspiracy. Doesn't it occur to people that more people are in jail because there's generally more crime? Certainly, the crime statistics corroborate that.
Now, the interesting thing I've found, is that American police departments are far more militaristic than anything I've seen overseas. In Taiwan, more than once I've seen a drunk woman slap a police officer and he just stands there and takes it, waiting for her to calm down. In the US they would have tased her and smashed her face into the pavement, assuming someone more gung ho didn't just pump a few rounds into her claiming probable cause.
On the other hand, I found the authorities there much more comfortable with continued surveillance. Here, it's all reactionary aggression. The rare police car I see is busy blowing through stop lights supposedly on the way to an incident. In Taiwan, however police presence was more persistent and reliable. Not that cops were personable there, but there was a lot more interaction. The only time people ever see cops in America, other than directing traffic, is when something has gone wrong. No wonder people develop a negative impression.
If I had to attribute crime in America with a cause, I think the single largest problem is irresponsible and shit parenting. If that were addressed I think so many other things would start falling into place. There are so many cultural problems endemic to America that you just don't see overseas, at least not to the extent they exist here.