NEW YORK - Violence with firearms continues to rise in New York City this summer amid the global coronavirus pandemic and economic turmoil, according to statistics released by the New York City Police Department. Murders, burglaries, and auto thefts are sharply up while grand larcenies, assaults, and hate crimes are down.
The NYPD recorded 244 shootings in July 2020 versus 88 in July 2019, which is a 177% increase. Shootings rose in July in every borough, police said. Through July 31, the city has experienced a 72% spike in shootings compared to the same time last year—772 versus 450 in 2019.
Murders in July rose 59% compared to last year with 54 in 2020 versus 34 a year ago. Burglaries were up 31% percent year-over-year. Police said 309 more auto thefts were reported for the month compared to a year earlier.
Police officers at the scene of a fatal shooting near Raymond Bush Playground in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, July 12, 2020. (FOX 5 NY file image)
"Amid the ongoing challenges of these times, the NYPD's commitment to public safety never wavers," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement. "Our men and women officers represent the best of the policing profession and work every day alongside those they serve in an ongoing joint mission to protect life, prevent crime and build safer neighborhoods for everyone across our great city."
Index crime statistics for July 2019 and July 2020. (FOX 5 NY illustration from NYPD chart)
Police have been trying to keep up with a spate of shootings in several neighborhoods. For example, gunmen opened fire on a fleeing car in broad daylight on Sunday morning. A gunman appeared to target another man in a fatal shooting in a deli on Staten Island on July 22. And a toddler, Davell Gardner, was shot and killed while with his family an outdoor cookout on July 12.
Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Shea announced an initiative to address the rampant gun violence. The police department is focusing on hotspot areas where the majority of the violence has reported but will spread to any other neighborhood that sees an uptick, the mayor had said. The program includes a series of anti-gun town halls around the city billed as "Stop the Violence" events.
"Our NYPD officers are following the best of the NYPD traditions, working with the community through Neighborhood Policing, responding in real-time to crime spikes by gathering timely intelligence, analyzing crime trends and disseminating preventative measures to stop New Yorkers from being victimized and ensure safety for all," the department said in a statement.
Summary of hate crime statistics, Jan. 1–Aug. 2 in 2019 and 2020. (FOX 5 NY illustration from NYPD chart)
A bright spot in the statistics includes a 29% drop in hate crimes so far in 2020 (170) compared to that time period in 2019 (241) but that could be due to fewer victims reporting bias incidents and not a true decline in crimes. Indeed, the NYPD noted that many rapes, which declined 6% in reported cases, are likely not reported to authorities.
"Rape continues to be underreported," the NYPD said. "If you have been a victim of sexual assault, please come forward."
The NYPD Special Victims Division's 24-hour hotline is 212-267-7273.
(FOX 5 NY file)