From Fort Apache to Little House on the Prairie

We went to a big swish party last night, it was the fifthtieth birthday of a neighbor of the friends we were visiting in Westchester County. It was a grand time; there was a raw bar with briny, plump little necks, and delicate crab cakes passed by staff. I met a man there who was a District Attorney in the Bronx. I asked him about what the job was like and how it is going. He said there is so little violent crime, there is not as big a caseload as in the past. What about Fort Apache, South Bronx? I asked. “Now it’s ‘Little House on the Prairie’ he answered.

I knew that crime was down, but I hadn’t thought about how much that affects people like this DA. Crime, he said, now is fought at the turnstile-jumper level. They prosecute minor crimes, like public drinking and jaywalking and thus prevent bigger ones. Crack cocaine, the scurge of the ’80s and ’90s, has dwindled to the province of only the lowest of the low, and there aren’t armed gangsters guarding street corners, even in Brooklyn. “Now it is mostly victims who know the perps,” he said, “bad people beating up on other bad people.”