NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Last week, five people were stabbed or slashed during a fight in an after-hours basement club in Washington Heights. Over the weekend there were triple stabbings at two other bars or restaurants.
They represent the growing number of knife assaults that are tied to the city's nightlife, according to the mayor and police officials and the type of attacks law enforcement will seek to target through a new initiative called Operation Cutting Edge.
Chief of Department James O' Neill said legal and illegal clubs and bars are a concern to the NYPD.
So far this year, there have been about 900 stabbings and slashings, an increase of 22 percent from this time last year. Only 2 percent of this year's slashings and stabbings were on the subway. Another 3 percent were at homeless shelters. 23 percent occur over the weekend nights.
Operation Cutting Edge will also change how police track assaults involving knives. Now the crime will have its own category on the police statistics system CompStat.
And Cutting Edge will make a push against the carrying of illegal knives and the sale of tools like box cutters which are illegal to sell to anyone under 21.
As police seek to hone in on problematic nightlife spots, they want to identify the 20 clubs with the most problems. They're also asking for the public's help. If you know of any illegal social clubs in your area give your local precinct a call.