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Homicides down in city but shootings up

Cyril Josh Barker | 6/19/2014, 12:16 p.m.
Homicides in the city are down but shootings are up, causing some to ask if reforming the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk ...

Homicides in the city are down but shootings are up, causing some to ask if reforming the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk practice was a good idea.

Recent numbers from the NYPD report that by the end of May, there were 381 shootings. That number is up from 347 during the same time in 2013. While shootings have gone up, the number of murders has gone down when compared to last year.

Precincts in the Bronx and East New York, Brooklyn, in particular saw an increase in the number of shootings. In East New York, shootings have increased by almost 40 percent.

The latest shooting occurred Monday in East Harlem, when police arrived at a home on East 112th Street and Second Avenue to find a man who had been shot in his back and leg. He later died at the hospital. Police are looking for a suspect.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said at a recent press conference that a spike in violence is normal sometimes and that changes to stop-and-frisk are not to blame.

“Crime is going to spike from time to time, that’s just the reality,” Bratton said.

Shortly after taking office, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will drop its appeal in two class-action lawsuits challenging the NYPD’s unconstitutional and discriminatory stop-and-frisk policy.

The city also committed to reforming the Police Department as well as reforming stop-and-frisk. Many say the practice resulted in a decade of racial profiling.

In response to the number of shootings, Bratton announced he is placing more officers in high crime areas. About 600 officers are scheduled to graduate from the police academy at the end of the month, which will put more officers on the street as the summer begins.

Bratton also pointed out that while there have been reforms to stop-and-frisk, the department has no plans to get rid of the practice completely.

“Stop-and-frisk has not gone away,” he said in one report.“It’s a basic tool of policing, something I advocate and strongly believe in.”

The New York City Council officially declared June “Gun Violence Awareness Month” after voting to pass a resolution sponsored by Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, deputy leader and co-chair of the City Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence. Williams is co-chair of Gun Violence Awareness Month with political activist Tamika Mallory.

Throughout the month of June, events for Gun Violence Awareness Month for community members across the five boroughs include youth summits, policy summits, legal aid days, gun buyback programs, performances, basketball tournaments, open mic nights and rallies.

“Gun Violence Awareness Month is an initiative that will mean a lot to New York City, because it will help end senseless acts of violence in our community. Gun violence is a mental condition and a lifestyle that needs help. Until we’re able to bring awareness on a regular basis, we won’t see shooting numbers decline,” said Shanduke McPhatter, executive director of Gun Violence Awareness Month.