New York City, which was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and protests and looting in response to the death of George Floyd, has seen a sharp spike in the number of gun-related crimes.
Over the weekend, there were 15 shootings in 15 hours, including one instance where a man reported that he was shot in the leg for simply bumping into someone who had a gun. The bloody weekend ended with the death of a one-year-old baby boy named Davell Gardner Jr, who was shot while sitting in a stroller during an outside barbeque. It was the fourth straight weekend of increased gun violence in the city.
According to the New York Police Department (NYPD) shooting database, there were 43 shootings last week, a 231% increase from the same time period last year. In the first three weeks of June, The New York Times reported that there were 125 shootings, which was double the number from the same time period in the previous year.
The city has not seen this level of gun violence for about 25 years.
“Please put these guns down. We don’t need no more of this,” Tommy Holiday, a neighbor, said. “When does this stop? Friday, my nephew was killed in East New York. Today, a 1-year-old baby. When does this stop? This is a shame—this is a 1-year-old baby seen no life yet.”
In a virtual town hall, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez provided her own views on the rising criminal activity and gun violence. She said, “Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so…they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”
She may have a point about the rise in some of the increase in crime.
In early April during the initial COVID shutdowns, before the rioting and looting in response to the death of George Floyd, The Wall Street Journal reported that there had been a 75% increase in burglaries of businesses in the Big Apple. Some of those establishments targeted included supermarkets, eateries, and retail locations, and burglaries of bodegas increased by 400% in late March.
But that doesn’t explain the increase in gun violence and other violent crimes, which had been on the decrease.
Between March 12-31, major felonies, like rapes, murders, and assaults, fell by almost 20%
The sudden increase in violent crime cannot be explained away by the need for food or other necessities of life.
For example, on July 5, a young father walking with his daughter in the Bronx was shot in what appears like a random drive-by shooting. There was no money or food taken, just another senseless murder.
In order to combat the growing violence, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently unveiled the “Take Back the Block” initiative. The program relies mostly on community members and “unarmed civilians who will hit the streets to help ‘break the cycle of violence.’” The plan will also include increased police patrols, though it’s unclear how the increased police patrols correspond with de Blasio’s recent support of defunding the police by $1 billion.
Criminology experts denounced his plan, saying, “the chances of this working are remote.”
A former NYPD cop turned professor of criminal justice said to The New York Post, “I think he deserves to tell the city that it’s his policy that is getting people killed.”
Noticeably, NYPD officials were absent from the city hall briefing.
The City of New York has struggled with a pandemic, rioting, looting, and now increased gun violence. In one year, so much has changed.
Pray for the people of New York City.
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