New York City Shootings are Up, but Arrests are Down
By Yehudit Garmaise
While the number of shootings in New York City has increased almost 95% compared to last year, the number of arrests police have made for major crimes this year fell by 13%, New York Police Department officials said today.
For instance, the NYPD has recorded 1,359 shootings from Jan. 1 through Nov. 15 of this year, compared to the 698 shootings that took place from Jan. 1 to Nov. 15 of 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.
NYPD officers admit that this year’s increase in shootings and murders in the city is a larger increase than New York City has seen in 20 years.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, today, during a press conference, blamed pandemic stresses, such as the temporary closures of businesses, schools, and houses of worship as contributing to both the rise in shootings and the drop in arrests.
“A lot of things we depend on to keep people safe and stable weren’t there,” said Mr. de Blasio, who many times has described the recent combination of COVID-19, lockdowns, social isolation, unemployment, and an usual number of protests and social unrest as creating a “perfect storm” in the city.
Other factors that police officers have cited as reasons for the city’s recent rise in violent crimes include issues that relate to the pandemic, such as the police academy’s shortage of police officers, due to illness, the NYPD Police Academy’s inability to train and graduate new police officers, and also courts that could not try cases.
Some criminologists explain the increase in crime in the city by pointing to the shortage of members of the NYPD after an unusual number of police officers retired this year, which some say is the result of the feelings of intense hostility and a lack of appreciation many police officers reported feeling after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.
In addition, a seemingly never-ending barrage of large, sometimes violent demonstrations have worn down some police officers and also influenced Mayor de Blasio to cut $1 billion from the NYPD budget, a move that led to staffing cuts and probably weakened the morale of many police officers.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea has blamed Gov. Cuomo’s decision to release many prisoners early as a reason that the number of criminals has sharply increased on the streets of New York City.
A final reason for increased crime also could be New York’s bail reform that says that judges can only set bail for people who commit violent felonies. As a result, all other criminals are released immediately, without bail.
“The officers are out there pulling guns off the street every day,” said Mr. Shea today who added that the NYPD reported that it made twice as many gun arrests in October than in September.