NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of shootings and murders is up in the city, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says gang-on-gang crime is to blame for the recent upswing.
Although the number of murders is on the rise, de Blasio said the situation is better than it has been in recent years, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports.
“We are down compared to last year to date, we’re down from the year before that,” de Blasio said. “Where we’re at this year compared to last year, and previous years, we are still at one of the lowest murder rates we have ever had in the history of the city.”
However, there were eight murders last week alone, and at least one expert is fearful because he says the crime is pushing from the outer boroughs to Manhattan tourist sports, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“The fact that there is a significant spike in violent crime, specifically shootings and murders, gives us pause to believe there is something that is just not right in the city’s policing system right now,” said former FBI agent and NYPD sergeant Manny Gomez.
Gomez said the dramatic spike in murders and shootings, especially in Manhattan, is something the city has to take very, very seriously.
In the Midtown North Precinct, home to Broadway, Radio City Music Hall and the like, murders are up 28.6 percent and shooting incidents 48.1 percent this year, Kramer reported.
In Midtown South, which includes hotels, Grand Central and the Garment District, murders are up 75 percent and shooting incidents 150 percent, Kramer reported.
In addition, Central Park has seen the number of robberies rise 125 percent and incidents of grand larceny jump 62.5 percent.
“The concern is that Midtown North, Midtown South and Central Park are basically our tourist hubs,” Gomez said. “They leave a lot of money behind to help our city’s economy. If these folks get a hint that it’s not safe, that’s a problem, a huge problem.”
De Blasio said the city is taking steps to fix the problem.
“We have had some sore spots that we have to look at. There are no two ways about it, there are certain precincts we have to do more in and there are certain gang issues we have to address and some additional tools,” the mayor said.
When asked by Kramer is he’s worried about the spike in violence, de Blasio said, “I worry all the time about keeping people safe in the city. It’s part of the job.”
Some New Yorkers are worried, too.
“I think they need to hire more cops and do a better training,” said Susan Martis of the Bronx.
“I think it was really getting better for a while and I think now, yeah, its a little disconcerting, troubling,” added Kevin McGuire of Midtown.
“There’s too much illegal guns,” Lisa Brown of Clinton said. “The wrong people get their hands on the gun. Aall you have to do is go a few states away and buy guns off the back of someone’s truck, bring them to New York and they get in the hands of the wrong people.”
The mayor said the NYPD will soon be announcing new strategies to fight gang-on-gang crime.
“We’re applying a whole host of strategies,” de Blasio said. “Everything from gang intervention strategies, which have worked around the country, to take-downs, which we’ve done a very big scale in some parts of the city and will continue to do so.”
The mayor described the gang and crew activity as a larger phenomenon, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, adding authorities are “going to work very, very intensely to cut off this phenomenon at the knees here in New York City.”