NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A 14-year-old boy was the latest victim of gun violence in New York City.
Police said he underwent surgery overnight and is expected to survive after being shot in the neck and torso around 5 p.m. Monday in St. Albans, Queens.
“It’s terrible. Gun violence is terrible,” one neighbor told CBS2’s John Dias.
“It should not be going on period, especially kids, and it happened in broad daylight,” another neighbor said. “It’s crazy.”
Fern Howell grew up in a house only yards away from the scene and spent 70 years there. She told Dias crime has been getting worse.
“I was home. I heard two or three shots,” she said. “When they disbanded the unit, the gun unit, all the stuff – boom. Because the city was doing alright.”
WEB EXTRA: Tracking Shootings In New York City
There were 101 shooting victims citywide in the past week, compared to 33 the same time last year – a 206% increase.
“The fact that so many people have nothing to do, have lost their jobs, there’s no school to go to, there’s tremendous frustration and pain and trauma, there is no court system functioning – I think those are the really big factors here,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
City and state leaders are weighing in on what they believe is behind the uptick.
NYPD top brass blamed a multitude of factors for the rise in crime, including the release of inmates from Rikers Island to avoid overcrowding and the spread of coronavirus. Police said 275 released inmates were rearrested 550 times in June.
“On top of all this, the courts have been shut down and many individuals who were indicted by a grand jury on gun charges are not in jail, but instead are free awaiting for the courts to open up,” said Chief of Department Terence Monahan.
The top spokesperson for the state court system called the assertion “absurd,” saying, “The courts have operated continuously throughout the pandemic, arraigning defendants, holding 100s of hearings, and conferencing 1,000s of cases.”
Monahan also pointed to bail reform and district attorneys’ “reluctance to prosecute quality of life crimes.”
Queens DA Melinda Katz said the issue is more complex than that.
“We need to work with the communities that need to feel safe about reporting, that need to feel safe about being witnesses in our cases,” she said.
Monahan also blamed the rise of anti-police rhetoric and a reform signed into law last month criminalizing the use of chokeholds.
“Now as officers try to fight crime, they must take pause before making an arrest,” he added.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo weighed in, adding, “there has been anti-police rhetoric – leading to what is the question.”
A virtual hearing will be held Tuesday on a number of bills pertaining to the NYPD and public safety.