Shootings in New York City have dropped off following weeks of increases, with 10 high-crime precincts that received additional cops experiencing a nearly 20 percent reduction this summer compared with 2014, the latest NYPD data shows.
As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the NYPD had recorded 701 shootings this year, compared with 711 a year earlier, or a drop of 1.4 percent. There have been 201 homicides so far, an increase of 6.3 percent from 189 reported for the same time in 2014.
The downward trend in shootings comes after the city experienced increases of as much as 8 percent some weeks, a trend that police watched with some concern. In response to the uptick in shootings, the NYPD advanced by about a month its Summer All Out program in which the 10 precincts were given extra complements of desk officers to handle patrol duties.
The 10 precincts, mostly in the Bronx and Brooklyn, have shown a collective 18.5 percent drop in shootings during the All Out period, which began in earnest the week beginning June 15, compared with the same period in 2014, the NYPD data show. The largest decrease in the period was reported by the 67th Precinct in central Brooklyn, which has recorded a decrease of 46 percent.
But not all precincts are experiencing decreases. The 75th Precinct in East New York in Brooklyn actually saw shootings increase 75 percent, to 14 from eight, during the All Out period. The 90th Precinct in Williamsburg and the 113th Precinct, which covers Rochdale, Queens, each experienced an increase of one shooting in the eight weeks ending Sunday.
"It is a seesaw," NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said Thursday about the latest drop in shootings.
NYPD commanders had hoped the extra officers put out on the streets would help dampen crime and shootings, but Davis conceded that it was hard to tell definitively at this point if the All Out effort was the reason for the decline.
Councilman Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) said Thursday he was glad to see the decrease in shootings, particularly in the 67th Precinct.
"Shootings are down; they have gone up and down historically and people have a hard time seeing that," Williams said.
"We too often rely on the police department to fix the problem and we are going to continue to have problems if we do that," Williams said.
Winchester Key, head of the 75th Precinct community council, said youths in the area are frustrated by a lack of jobs and meaningful education.
"There are no jobs here; they [youths] have to eat and they do crazy things," Key said. "Education and jobs, this is all I hear from kids."
A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said the sharp declines in shootings in Summer All Out precincts is an indication that the city's crime-fighting strategies were working.
In an interview with Newsday last week, criminologist Franklin Zimring, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said the latest shooting and homicide trends were the continuation of a long decline New York City has seen in violent crime.