NEW YORK CITY — Shootings in New York City rose by 166% in August compared to the same month in 2019, police said, as the NYPD and community leaders continue to grapple with how to curb an alarming spike in gun violence this year.
There were 242 shootings citywide in August, according to crime statistics released by the NYPD on Wednesday. In August 2019, there were 91 shootings.
The number of homicides and burglaries last month also rose by double-digit percentages compared to August 2019. Homicides are up 47% (53 in 2020 and 36 in 2019) and burglaries increased 22% (1,310 in 2020 and 1,076 in 2019).
“Despite all the continuing challenges, our NYPD officers are undaunted,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday in a statement. “The work of our officers represents the best of the policing profession and it continues as they increasingly engage with all of our community partners to protect life, prevent crime and build safer neighborhoods.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking Wednesday morning during a coronavirus briefing, said the pandemic unleashed a “perfect storm” in the city.
“We know that with the entire society on hold for months, all sorts of things got set in motion that were truly unusual,” de Blasio said. “We do see signs of progress now that are profound. The court system is starting to come back to life, that’s going to help us immensely.”
The mayor also said the NYPD and community leaders have been working closely together over the last few months to stem the surge in shootings.
The NYPD outlined several ways it is trying to mitigate the rise in violence:
- More officers have been shifted to areas experiencing upticks in shootings.
- Officers are working to collect intelligence and address crime and criminal conditions in real-time.
- A combination of short- and long-term investigations is being employed to root out persistent drivers of violence.
- Grassroots community outreach continues through neighborhood policing.
Overall crime for August 2020 rose by .7% compared to August 2019 — only a slight increase because reported rapes were down 22.2% and there was a 17.5% drop in grand larcenies, according to NYPD data.
Gun arrests have also leveled out, with 359 arrests made last month compared to 357 in August 2019.