NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The last week in New York City has been like the wild west.
Astonishing statistics show a 342 percent increase in shootings last week – 53 compared to 12 in 2019.
They also show a 414 percent jump in the number of people shot – 74 compared 14 in 2019.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reports Mayor Bill de Blasio is vowing not to let the city slip back into the bad old days of gun violence, but the demand for cuts to the NYPD budget has some wondering if officers have abandoned proactive policing.
Police said there were a total of 28 shootings with 38 victims in 72 hours over the weekend.
Officers responded to eight shootings Friday, 18 on Saturday and two more Sunday.
De Blasio acknowledged the warmer months typically bring more violence, and said some of the shootings have been linked to gangs and retaliations.
“In the beginning of the year, we saw an uptick in crime and shootings. We saw some leveling off for a few months in the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. Now, we’ve seen something very troubling in recent weeks,” the mayor said Monday.
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The numbers put the mayor between a rock and a hard place in terms of balancing public safety and police reform.
“I think, Marcia, it’s really important to remember, job one is always to keep people safe,” said de Blasio.
The mayor said the NYPD’s annual “Summer All-Out” initiative is adding hundreds of officers to streets in neighborhoods with upticks in gun violence, and Cure Violence crisis management groups will also increase their coverage in those areas.
“We are not going to allow gun violence to continue to grow in this city. We’re not going to go back to the days when there was so much violence pervading our communities,” he said. “We’re going to use new strategies and approaches in policing, new strategies and approaches at the community level. We’re going to do whatever it takes to fight back gun violence.”
The mayor specifically mentioned the Bronx and Brooklyn North.
But, some are left wondering why the spike in shootings is happening now.
Former NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito told Kramer it’s because proactive policing is not happening and that anti-police demonstrations have taken a toll.
“They’re all looking over their shoulders and in the back of their mind, whether consciously or subconsciously, they’re saying, ‘Why should we bother? We don’t get the support. Why should we bother?'” said Esposito.
City Council Finance Chairman Daniel Dromm called the increase in shootings “suspicious.”
“It makes me wonder exactly what’s going on with the NYPD. Same as with the fireworks. I mean, is there no enforcement? Are they slowing down? What is happening gives me great concern,” said Dromm.
The councilman said it won’t stop the City Council from seeking to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion budget and earmarking the money for social services.
The budget is due on June 30.