In a city known for gun violence, authorities want to know why knives are unexpectedly becoming a murder weapon of choice.
While murders committed by guns are down slightly this year, killings with knives have risen 19 percent, according to police data. There were 49 murders committed with knives so far this year, up from 41 during the same period last year. In comparison, guns were used in 105 murders.
Officials are trying to get a handle on why criminals are turning to such a personal murder weapon, but stricter weapons possession laws “may be getting some people to leave their guns at home,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.
Meanwhile, an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office found that stores across the city — including Home Depot and Eastern Mountain Sports — have been selling gravity knives, switchblades and other dangerous tools that are illegal to sell in the state.
An agreement announced Thursday will require seven retailers to turn over the profits from the illegal knife sales during the past four years, totaling nearly $1.9 million.
In 2009, there were 2,269 arrests involving the possession of illegal knives in Manhattan, DA figures show.