Despite continuing drops in most serious crimes, the number of shootings is up nearly 10 percent this year from 2013, a trend that prompted the NYPD to increase its anti-gang activity.
The biggest spike in shootings is in the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, as well as the 75th and 73rd precincts in Brooklyn, NYPD data showed.
Police Commissioner William Bratton has said he believes most of those increases stem from gang violence, which he is trying to address with more focused patrols. A police official said the 47th Precinct is now a candidate to be an "impact zone" with more-focused patrols.
Bratton has stressed that "blips" in crime will occur, and he noted how serious crimes have continued to fall, with the city remaining on track for another possible record low in homicides. As of Sunday, major felonies were down 2.7 percent in 2014, compared with 2013, including decreases in most categories except for felonious assaults and auto larceny, the NYPD data show.
But since late March, the number of shooting incidents reported by the NYPD for each 28-day Compstat period have been increasing, police data show. As a result, through Sunday, shooting incidents have risen 9.7 percent this year, from 347 in 2013 to 381, with a corresponding 10 percent increase in people wounded, from 397 to 437, the data show.
The increase is prompting some experts to ponder if the drastic decline in the number of police encounters known as stop and frisks is a factor behind the violence.
"It is a fair question," said noted criminologist David Weisburd, of George Mason University in Virgina and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Weisburd led a major study of NYPD stop and frisk activity from 2006 through 2011 that he revealed earlier this year at a John Jay College of Criminal Justice forum in Manhattan. The study found that around high-crime intersections and areas, stop and frisk activity appeared to have a "significant deterrent effect" on crime at all levels, with little evidence it was displaced elsewhere.
Another study of the same data by Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri-St. Louis looking at census tracts suggested that stop and frisks had a modest effect on robberies, assaults and possibly homicides, with robberies dropping 20 percent.
In a telephone interview this week, Weisburd said more data is needed to determine whether the shooting increase is related to the drop in stop and frisk activity, particularly since murders have gone down.
NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis agreed, saying shooting levels are affected by factors such as gang disputes and changes in weather. He said past years with declines in stop and frisks also showed declines in shootings.
Professor Franklin Zimring, of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said that since shootings are not considered a serious crime statistic under FBI data reporting rules and aren't capable of being audited, there is a risk that shootings in New York may actually be underreported.
"My guess it is only a partial count of the episodes in which guns are fired in New York City," Zimring said of the current shooting data.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant who is now an instructor and lecturer on criminal justice and investigative techniques, said he believes the rise in shootings stems from the street criminals awareness that police have pulled back on stop and frisk.
"The bad guys know cops aren't aggressively stopping people," said Giacalone. "It's lucky that [hospital] trauma centers are as good as they are, otherwise we would have more murders."