NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s like the wild west on the streets of the Big Apple, with instances of gun violence soaring. Police say they’re between a rock and a hard place, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Monday.
The latest NYPD numbers show a whopping 142 percent increase in shootings last week, compared to the same time last year: 63 versus 26.
Month-to-date, there’s a 129 percent spike: 188 shootings compared to 82 in 2019.
“These last three weeks have been really bad,” said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.
Police say it’s a catch-22; protesters and lawmakers continue pushing for NYPD budget cuts and reforms, while gun violence is surging.
“We need some clarity from the City Council and from the communities we serve, exactly how they want to be policed,” said Monahan.
CBS2 took that question to East Flatbush, Brooklyn – one of the worst precincts for gun violence in New York City.
Grymes asked people what they want police to do.
“Stop being more aggressive. Stop being the aggressor,” one person said.
“The police are confused about what to do and the people are confused about what they’re doing,” said another. “They gotta figure out what they need to do because what’s going on right now is not making no sense.”
“If they don’t want the anti-crime unit, according to the boss. If I was the boss, bring them back as something different, which would help take the guns off the street.”
The NYPD disbanded anti-crime units this month.
They largely went after illegal guns, but Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said they now have more modern ways of getting that job done.
Separately, Mayor Bill de Blasio touted anti-violence groups – “The God Squad,” in East Flatbush, for example – for helping to combat crime.
“We have so much work to do as a community, we have so much work to do as families, as mothers, as fathers,” said Pastor Gil Monrose, president of The God Squad.
The squad responds to shootings, but also does preventative work, like meeting with gang members and the formerly incarcerated to try to get them on the right path.
“We look in our community and we’re a little disheartened when we see that we’re taking each other’s lives,” said Pastor Louis Straker, another God Squad member.
The squad said police reform and fighting against systemic racism is necessary, but personal reform is a big piece, too.