Why I worry about rise in NYC shootings

Renaissance Playground on West 143rd St., where a

Renaissance Playground on West 143rd St., where a baby was found alone in a stroller at night on Sunday, March 23, 2014. (Credit: NYC Parks )

Rachel Figueroa-Levin

Rachel Figueroa-Levin Rachel Figueroa-Levin

Rachel Figueroa-Levin tweets as @ElBloombito, @Jewyorican and @EveryGentrifier.

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The sport-utility vehicle drove up the residential block in Inwood on June 4 as kids frolicked in a nearby park. Suddenly, bullets flew out of the SUV before the driver sped away.

I know the corner because my daughter, 3, plays in a playground at that park.

I was working when I learned about the shooting; my daughter was with her nanny at the park. When the news came over Facebook from another neighborhood mother, I called the nanny. At first, I couldn't reach her, so I panicked. The only information was rough sketches via social media, so I wasn't sure which playground it was at first (there are three in our park), or exactly where my daughter was at the time.

Those were the longest six minutes of my life. Once I reached her nanny by phone, I learned that my daughter was at the park -- but, fortunately, not near the shooting.

Later, police said simply that three shots were fired into the air at 3:25 p.m. from a white Mercedes SUV traveling west on Dyckman Street. No injuries, no property damage, no arrests.

Shootings in the city have gone up more than 40 percent in the last month; and since Jan. 1 more than 500 people in NYC have been shot, up from 448 from the same period a year ago, according to NYPD figures.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said he is not overly concerned about the uptick because the homicide rate is at record lows -- 120 killings to date this year compared with 140 a year ago, a 15 percent drop.

But you know who's worried? Me. I'm worried. I'm glad homicides are down, I don't want to get murdered. But I'd also love it if I didn't get nonfatally shot either.

Some neighbors said the shooting wasn't a drive-by because no one was hit, but if you are in a car and shoot a gun, even into the air, that's a drive-by shooting in my book. Even shots "into the air" can kill. They can go through building windows. They can hit people in the park on a hill. People who drive around and shoot from cars shouldn't have guns. They shouldn't have cars. They shouldn't be free to roam city streets.

I hope the homicide rate continues to drop. I hope shootings (including nonfatal ones) go down, too. I don't want to hear of another gun-related incident near our playground, or anywhere in our city.

Rachel Figueroa-Levin tweets as @Jewyorican and @ElBloombito.