Shootings and gun-related homicides continue to rise in New York City, a top-ranking NYPD official announced yesterday. For the second straight year, gunplay has increased, with shooting incidents up from 403 at this time last year to 439 so far this year through the end of May. Shootings involving a victim also rose, from 467 by this time last year to 520. This is the first time since the 1990s that shootings have risen for two years in a row.

Homicides resulting from gun violence have risen dramatically over last year, with 98 gun deaths through May, compared to 69 last year. Overall, there were 135 murders through the end of May, compared to 113 at the same time last year.

However, overall crime is down, and despite the uptick in gun violence, shootings are still far fewer than two decades ago, when over 2,000 shootings were documented during the same period.


Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton have argued recently that the increase in shooting and gun homicides predominantly involves gang violence. "It’s criminals, career criminals, killing and shooting other career criminals," Bratton said last month. "The rest of the city, your chances of being a victim are very, very slim."

And de Blasio said last week, "It’s abundantly clear, what’s happening more and more is isolated to a relatively small set of gangs and crews." The spike in gun violence in NYC is also being seen in other cities, and is far more dramatic in Baltimore and Chicago.


But street crime traditionally increases during the summer in NYC, and NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said yesterday that the department would start its summertime "All Out" initiative now, a month earlier than expected. Starting next week, 330 additional officers will be assigned to high crime areas, and more officers will also do overtime work on weekend nights to expand foot patrols in troubled areas.

O'Neill also said officers may conduct more stop-and-frisks as needed. “If we see an area where there is an increase in violence, of course we’re going to put more resources in there, but the stops that we want are good stops,” O'Neill told reporters yesterday. “We want stops and summary enforcement activity to the people connected to the violence.”

Officers performed 7,125 stops during the first quarter of this year, roughly half the number conducted the same period last year, which officers performed 14,261 stops. And over the past five years, the number of guns recovered in arrests has declined about 20%, from 3,648 guns recovered during arrests in 2010 to 2,942 recovered guns, the NY Times reports.

"The level of homicides committed is substantially higher,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dermot Shea said yesterday. “Is that indicative of more guns on the street? It’s something that we're looking at. Or is it a comfort level of the accessibility of guns and the ease of getting them.”