Mr Cameron, accompanied by local MP Hazel Blears, visited Salford Fire Station where he spoke to locals who witnessed the disorder.
The trouble in both Manchester and Salford left more then 100 premises damaged and police have made around 120 arrests.
Speaking to residents, the PM hailed the bravery shown by police officers who faced down those involved in the disorder:
They were brave on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. They are brave every day of every year when they put their lives on the line for us. I have huge respect for our police.
But clearly we needed to act this week to get control of the streets, to get them back for the law-abiding. The police did that, they did change their tactics, they did increase police numbers, that was the right thing to do.
And through COBRA they had the political support of the Government, the Prime Minister and the whole of Parliament to get on and do that.
Yesterday, Mr Cameron announced stronger police powers to ensure that offenders are caught and made to pay for their crimes.
He also announced a package of support for homeowners and businesses which have seen their properties destroyed in the violence and looting with compensation available under the Riot Damages Act.