NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a dangerous and deadly trend — stray bullets flying across the boroughs, striking innocent bystanders.
Over the last 10 days, CBS2 has reported on seven different people who have been hit. One of the victims died while he was out walking his dog.
Now, many people say they’re scared and they want to know what police are doing to make their streets safe again.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore spoke with the NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan on Thursday.
“Innocent people are dying out here, for what?” Terry Solomon said.
Solomon asked the question on many minds these days, after his husband was killed on their anniversary, hit by a stray bullet on Monday while out walking his dog in Hamilton Heights.
Angela Saltarelli knows the pain firsthand. She was shot in the arm by a stray bullet on Wednesday morning near her home in the Bronx.
“I can’t believe it’s me right now,” Saltarelli said. “I looked down and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, oh my God, I’m shot. I’m shot!'”
Unfortunately, the trend continues, with six stray-bullet shootings and seven victims in New York City since the beginning of June, including a 7-year-old boy who was shot in the leg while walking home with his grandmother, and two elderly women shot by stray bullets while sitting in their own home.
So what is the NYPD doing about it?
“Obviously, this is troubling to us, too,” Chief Monahan said. “Shootings are down throughout the city … but these are incidents we have to be all over. Now our detectives, our cops are investigating these completely. I know out of the seven we made an arrest today. We’re close on three or four others.”
Earlier Thursday, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said shootings are down 31 percent over the last few years, but that comes as little consolation to the families whose lives have been destroyed by stray bullets.
Moore pointed out to Monahan that when families say, “I don’t feel safe,” they don’t care about the numbers. To which Monahan replied, “Absolutely. You can be safe but you have to feel safe.”
Monahan said the two keys to prevention are getting illegal guns off the streets and throwing the book at shooters once they’re convicted.
Moore then asked Monahan, “As a human being, when you hear these stories like the guy getting killed on his anniversary out walking his dog, how does that make you feel?”
“It makes my blood boil. This is someone that shouldn’t be out on the street. Someone who’s willing to take a gun and fire indiscriminately out on the street, that’s the individual that doesn’t need to be out on the street. When we make the arrest, that’s when the criminal justice system needs to come down hard on them,” Monahan said.
One attempted remedy: Commissioner O’Neill said he’s working with companies like Facebook to reduce social media use that promotes gang violence.
The NYPD is also sending more officers to the precincts where there is the most reported gun activity, as part of the “Summer All-Out” program.