Shootings and Murders Still Soaring in New York City

new york city shootings
NYPD officers pose after a recent gun arrest. Inset: The seized guns and ammunition. (NYPD)

Soaring gun crime continued unabated in New York City in November, as for the sixth consecutive month, shootings more than doubled from the same month the previous year.

There were 115 shooting incidents in the city last month, representing a 112.5% increase over November 2019, according to data released Friday by the NYPD. In nine of the first eleven months of 2020, shootings have risen compared with the same month of last year. Starting in June, the year-over-year rise in shootings was over 100% in each month. Overall, 2020 has seen a 95.8% spike in shootings compared with 2019.

Murders have also sharply increased this year, including 21.7% last month; the 422 murder victims in New York City in 2020 represent a 38.4% spike from the comparable period of 2019.

Gun arrests last month rose 112.3% from the year-ago period. Overall, through November, gun arrests are up 22.2% from last year. Forty percent of people accused of a shooting have had a past arrest for gun possession arrest – as have 21% of shooting victims.

“Whatever the challenge, our NYPD officers have shown innovation and determination to get the job done this year,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement Friday. “Our work to reimagine the kind of policing New Yorkers deserve is always evolving, in line with our agency’s best traditions to reflect the needs of everyone in our city.”

Police union heads and some elected officials have criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio for what they see as a soft-on-crime approach.

De Blasio has blamed the crime spike on court closures and other “dislocations” related to the coronavirus pandemic. Shea and other police officials have blamed these and other factors, including criminal-justice reforms – such as a bail-reform law – supported by de Blasio; a police budget that was cut following demands from Black Lives Matters protestors; and attrition related to both budget cuts and low morale at the NYPD. In an interview with Hamodia in early fall, Shea said, “There is no consequence for carrying a gun right now in New York City,” pointing to “the length of time that it’s taking to go to trial,” “the fact that you’re not being held on bail waiting for that trial,” and “the reoccurrence incidents.”


Asked by a Hamodia reporter at his Monday morning press conference to comment on the crime spike, de Blasio again blamed COVID, and said that as a vaccine brings an end to the pandemic, the crime rate would drop as well.

“It’s really straightforward to me,” the mayor said. “We went through arguably the hardest year in New York City history, tremendous challenges for all our communities and for the NYPD, but what you’ve seen in recent months is more and more work between the NYPD and neighborhoods through neighborhood policing, and more and more gun arrests. And we’re going to go strong into 2021, and turn that trend around because we’re going to, in the course of just the next few months, turn the whole reality around. The vaccine is coming. We’re going to be able to get our economy back. It’s going to be a very different reality in 2021.”

While shootings and murders have garnered the most headlines, burglary and auto theft have soared this year as well. Burglary rose 41.3% last month, and has risen more than 19 percent in every month of 2020 compared with the same month of 2019. Auto theft rose 101.5% in November, and has increased more than 50% in every month this year.

Grand larceny – the crime category with by the far the most overall crime instances – dropped 17.5% last month, and there were also decreases in robbery (5.6%) and assault (5.2%).

Overall crime in the seven major index categories has remained mostly flat: a 0.6% increase last month, and an overall 0.5% decrease through the first 11 months of the year.

Hate crimes continue to be a bright spot, dropping 37% this year. Anti-Semitic crimes, though accounting for more than half of all hate crimes, are down 50% from last year’s record levels. Typically, approximately 80% of anti-Semitic hate-crime complaints are for property crimes, such as scrawled swastikas.

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