Shootings in NYC climb as other serious crimes fall, says NYPD
Shootings continue to rise in New York City this year, soaring to triple-digit increases at some Bronx and Brooklyn precincts even as other serious crimes continue to fall, according to the latest NYPD crime statistics.
Across the city, shootings have climbed by 13 percent over the same period last year, according to the data.
The number of victims in those shootings has climbed by nearly 12 percent over 2013, the data said.
"This is no longer a blip, this is a trend," said police consultant and former NYPD detective supervisor Joseph Giacalone, referring to the steady increase in shootings since the start of 2014.
The increase, first noticed in March, comes even as other serious felonies, particularly homicides, continue to drop.
Major crimes are down more than 3 percent. Homicides have dropped more than 11 percent, with a chance to break last year's record low, according to police statistics.
During a recent meeting with his executive staff, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton asked for an analysis to determine why shootings are up in 2014, said a law enforcement source. The study is still underway and among the factors being examined are the precipitous drop in stop-and-frisk activity, narcotics enforcement and police overtime trends in certain locations, the source said.
"One of the clear common denominators is the gang crew activity. We have a correlation between gangs and shootings," said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis.
Police are also seeing a number of recent cases where shootings have been sparked by sudden disputes at house parties, Davis said. But he also noted that some of the increase might be unexplainable and be by chance, keeping in mind that for a decade shootings have been in a steady decline.
Overall, the precincts with the biggest increase in shootings are in the Bronx, and in central and eastern Brooklyn. The 75th Precinct in East New York leads the city with 39 shootings this year, compared to 29 in 2013. The nearby 69th Precinct, which covers Canarsie, has seen the largest increase -- 257 percent -- with 25 shootings this year compared with seven a year ago.
Giacalone said the big decline in stop-and-frisk activity by police and perhaps a wariness by officers about being too aggressive might be playing some role in the increasing shootings. But he said the correlation between stop-and-frisk and shootings might be weak. Stop-and-frisk actions have dropped by about 90 percent, but shootings are up only 13 percent, he said.
Both Davis and Giacalone note that while shootings have increased, the overall downward trend on crime means the city appears safe.
"Is the public getting nervous about it?" Giacalone asked rhetorically. "Right now the general public isn't concerned about it [shootings] because crime is going down."