A New York City July Fourth weekend marred by bloodshed — seven killed and 58 wounded by gunfire, another three people stabbed to death — was mostly in line with NYPD data Thursday showing an ongoing surge in violent crime.
NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell acknowledged the violent holiday weekend at a news conference while touting crime-fighting initiatives like seizing illegal guns as a major part of a plan to reverse the trend.
“This city has been through a lot and our mission is to make it safer for the people who live work and visit here.” Sewell said.
The police commissioner noted that cops have seized more than 3,700 guns so far in 2022 as part of an NYPD violence-reduction initiative started earlier in the year. The department as also beefed up deployment of cops on the streets and use of field intelligence units.
The bloodshed's grim toll, which included a total of 43 shootings, according to police data, significantly surpassed last year’s July Fourth weekend totals of 28 shootings and 32 victims. Within the statistics was a positive sign: Homicides are down 12% so far this year compared to 2021 and shootings have fallen by 13% in the same period.
Overall though, major felonies, such as burglary, rape, robbery and grand larceny, have spiked almost 38% so far in 2022 compared to last year for the same period. June showed a 31.1% surge in major crimes compared to the same month in 2021.
Fifteen of the holiday shootings occurred in the Bronx, eight in Brooklyn North commands and six in Queens South precincts, with the remainder spread out among other borough commands, said NYPD Chief Michael LiPetri, head of crime control strategies. LiPetri also noted that about 41% of the shootings occurred between 3 p.m. Monday and 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Asked if the attention given to violent crimes and guns was prompting the NYPD to reduce emphasis on taking action against other major felonies, Sewell pushed back at that notion.
“We don’t cede any ground whatsoever,” she said “We have to look at recidivists in a number of these offenses who keep getting out and committing the same crimes over and over again. So while we are seeing declines in homicides and shootings, we are still focused on the felony assaults, the burglaries and other offenses as well.”
Sewell said the department was faced with arresting the same people over and over again and indicated that other parts of the criminal justice system, such as the courts and prosecutors, bear some of the responsibility for the recidivism and suspects being out on the street to commit more crimes.
NYPD Chief of Department Ken Corey noted that arrests for all so-called serious index crime were up this year by 30%. He stressed that in the case of those arrested this year for burglary, some 25% are rearrested for another crime within 60 days, compared to 7% a few years ago.
“That is a significant problem,” Corey said.