Record low gun crime recorded in New York City

Ray Kelly gun
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly shows off some illegal guns collected by the NYPD in a bust. Credit: Getty Images

The number of shootings, and fatal shootings, are at historic lows in New York City, according to gun crime data from the mayor’s office.

As of Sept. 8, there were 131 fatal shootings this year. That amounts to a 30 percent decrease from the same time period in 2012, when 188 fatal shootings were recorded.

The 131 fatal shootings accounted for 57 percent of all homicides in the city this year. Last year, gun violence was the cause of 60 percent of the city’s homicides over the same time period.

There are almost six times as many non-fatal shootings as there are fatal shootings, but even that figure is down. As of Sept. 8, the city recorded 774 shooting incidents, a 24 percent drop from last year’s 1,029 over the same time period.

At this year’s State of the NYPD speech in January, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced that shootings and shooting victims are down to their lowest levels in 20 years. He compared New York City to other U.S. cities, noting that the murder rate in New York City is five murders for every 100,000 people. According to Kelly, that figure is 54 murders in Detroit, 22 in Philadelphia and 19 in Chicago.

If New York had Detroit’s murder rate, Kelly noted, the city would have seen 4,400 murders last year, instead of 400.

The NYPD credits the decrease in crime, particularly gun crime, in large part to its controversial stop-and-frisk practice, which it says has resulted in the seizure of 8,000 guns since 2002, 800 of which were illegal handguns. But that practice is employed within a number of different programs and initiatives that may employ other approaches as well.

Operation Crew Cut is one initiative Kelly has credited for the drop in gun crime. In January, Kelly said 30 percent of shootings that occur in New York City can be traced to “crews,” somewhat informal gangs made up primarily of teens “responsible for much of the violence in and around public housing and elsewhere,” and defined largely according to “turf.”

“This kind of tit-for-tat brutality among teens was settled in neighborhoods generations ago by fist fights,” Kelly said. “Now, more often than not, it’s with guns.”

According to Kelly, social media has been hugely helpful in keeping an eye on crews and preventing gun violence. Teens will Instagram photos of themselves in front of a rival’s building, or post a surveillance photo of a rival on Facebook as a way to threaten and intimidate. The NYPD is able to track these threats, monitor the activity and even intervene. Last June, a crew of youths trafficking guns and drugs into the Moore Houses in the Bronx were taken down by the NYPD and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at least in part because of photos they shared on social media.

 

Gun crime by the numbers

90 percent

The percentage of victims of gun violence in New York City that are black or Latino, according to the mayor’s office.

Read more on New York City gun violence here: Gun advocates make their case amid tough state regulations

Gun Week: Following the trail of our bloody streets 

Boston, Philadelphia, New York City: Three very different cities with a common problem. Gun violence has destroyed the lives of countless individuals and families on our streets and wrought devastation across vibrant neighborhoods, searing itself into their fabric.

Over the next week, Metro will examine the impact that gun violence has had on those cities as well as our country in the aftermath of the recent massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary, Aurora, Co. and the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. We will look at what each city and the country is doing to combat the age-old problem as well as change the deadly culture that, on a daily basis, leaves its bloody imprint on our communities. – The Editors

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



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