Posted by Jay Livingston
With all the talk about a “Ferguson Effect” and crime on the rise (both disputed by the Obama administration), I had a personal reminder of how far we’ve come since the bad old days when crime rates were . I should start by saying that I live between Needle Park and “Death Wish.”
In the 1971 film “The Panic in Needle Park,” Al Pacino is a junkie hanging out with other junkies in what is and was officially known as Verdi Square.
That was then. The crime I was a victim of – breaking into a car and stealing stuff – is classified as “theft” or “larceny” for purposes of crime statistics.
(The data is for New York State – I couldn’t quickly find NYC data – but since the City accounts for more than half the crime, this graph reflects the actual trend. If anything, the real drop in NYC was greater than what the state data shows.)
This week I was reminded of those days when I would see shattered glass on the street – evidence of car break-ins. Last weekend, my son borrowed the car, and when he returned, he found a parking spot right across from Charles Bronson’s “Death Wish” apartment building (see the map above). I didn’t need the car, so it wasn’t till Friday that I went to move it and discovered that he had left the passenger-side window half open.
Things change, and sometimes for the better.
As for Needle Park, this is what it looks like today.
* The park scene is shot 15 blocks uptown from his apartment, mostly because of the photogenic stone stairway down to the park.