In response to a surge in homicides, the NYPD announced on Monday a multi-point plan to combat gun violence in the city’s most affected neighborhoods, one of them being Bedford Stuyvesant.
At a press conference, Police Commissioner James O’Neill released the most recent crime statistics. So far in 2019, there have been 52 murders citywide, compared to 38 in the same period last year. Last month alone, there have been 24 murders compared with 16 in February 2018.
“Citywide fighting crime and keeping people safe is an ongoing effort,” said O’Neill. “Our approach to combating spikes in murders, shootings and other crimes must constantly be adjusted as circumstances dictate. We are always in the process of deploying the right type and amount of resources at the appropriate time and places to continually focus very precisely on the real drivers of crime – the small percentage of people responsible for a majority of the violence.”
According to the NYPD, Brooklyn North had some of the biggest trouble; there, 15 murders have occurred so far this year. The homicides were mostly driven by drugs, gangs or personal disputes, officials said. The area’s number tripled compared to the five murders recorded during the first two months in 2018.
The NYPD analyzed the murders and non-fatal shootings in the city this year and decided in a first move to send at least eight more cops to four precincts, including the 79th Precinct in Bedford Stuyvesant. These additional forces will focus on known offenders in the neighborhood, officials said.
“Beginning immediately, we will be sending at least eight additional officers from other precincts around those boroughs to each of these commands,” said Chief of Department Terence Monahan. “They will be deployed by the precinct executive officer at highly visible locations and at critical times when and where this violence has occurred.”
Furthermore, the NYPD will increase its partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney to help with gun prosecutions, Monahan announced. The NYPD also plans to expand its CeaseFire Program, an intervention program that combats violent crimes by providing alternatives to the gang lifestyle as well as targeting known gang members.
“We will enhance cooperation with the NYPD and expand partnerships with community groups and violence interrupters, among other proactive approaches, to make sure that the previous historic lows are maintained,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “I am resolved to continue to keep everyone in Brooklyn safe and strengthen community trust.”
The NYPD will also give more attention to domestic violence cases involving guns. In 2018, there were 27 domestic shootings, 19 of which were fatal. The NYPD removed 66 guns from homes in domestic violence investigations last year. This year, cops have removed 14 guns involved in domestic violence cases so far.
Monahan asked for the community to be vigilant, and pleaded, “if anyone sees something, say something.”
“A victim of domestic violence may not be reporting. But a neighbor hearing something should call us, so we can start getting that intervention,” he said.
The recent crime statistics also revealed an uptick in rapes: So far, 285 cases have been reported compared with 240 in the same period in 2019. Hate crimes have increased by more than 40 percent; there have been 66 incidents compared with 47 in the same period last year.
Still, city officials emphasized, despite the increase in murders, rapes and hate crimes, the city’s overall crime rate was down 11 percent in February and 9 percent for 2019.