Gun violence continues to rise in New York City, igniting intense debate, among officials, over reasons behind the spike in shootings. Top NYPD officials attribute bail reform and growing animosity towards police officers, following the George Floyd Protests. Mayor de Blasio blames the coronavirus pandemic, the current economic crisis, and the closure of the city’s court system.
Speaking with Bobby Cuza on “Inside City Hall”, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said that it’s a combination of those factors.
“I think it is several fold and you can’t put your finger on what the precise thing is. We’re in the middle of a pandemic where 25,000 New Yorkers have died,” he said.
“So, I think there is fear. There is anger. I think there is unemployment which is a natural consequence of this extraordinary situation,” he said.
Vance also said that despite the recent uptick in shootings, gun violence has been increasing over the past two years.
“Crime has been going up since 2018,” he told NY1. “This was before there were any reforms around bail or there was a release from Rikers Island.”
The number of shootings in New York City substantially increased during the month of June compared to the same time last year. In the most recent string of gun violence, dozens of people were shot over the holiday weekend including a father who was gunned down in broad daylight while walking with his 6-year-old daughter.
Vance, who joined fellow district attorneys in a meeting with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Monday, said that the city’s spike in crime was a topic of discussion.
Vance said the city will have to develop a plan that will focus on driving crime downwards.
“It’s a real concern. We need concrete plans across-the-board. Community engagement focusing on who is driving crime in the various communities, particularly around the housing developments,” he said.
Vance also said that the reopening of the court system was discussed. Vance told NY1 that as of now, there are hundreds of unindicted felons awaiting presentation to a grand jury and said that grand juries can be called on as early as August, across the city.