Today saw some sobering new numbers from the NYPD. What once seemed like a statistical blip is now a trend. Murders and shootings are up significantly this year. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed this report.
The NYPD says it's going to beef up patrols in violent neighborhoods and there's good reason for it —this year at least 22 more people have been murdered compared to the same period last year.
"We are talking about people's lives. These are not just numbers," said Chief of Department James O'Neill.
Through the end of May, there were 135 murders, an increase of more than 19 percent compared to the first five months of 2014—and there were 439 shootings, an increase of nearly 9 percent.
Police say gangs and crews are causing most of this violence. Shootings over turf, drugs and sometimes just for the thrill or fun of it.
"We have seen over the last four to five years in New York City—and certainly to some extent continuing now—groups that seem to be shooting each other for absolutely no reason. that creates an extra layer of difficulty for us," said Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea.
With shootings and murders up, there's been some discussion in the police department and community as to whether or not the police officers should be increasing the amount of stop, questioning and frisk they are doing.
Under pressure from politicians and a court ruling, the tactic has been drastically reduced. Police admit they're trying to determine if young men now feel they can carry a gun and not worry about getting stopped.
"For the officer on the street, there is a big difference between a gun in someone's apartment and a gun stashed in the garbage can because when the fight happens and it's within 5 feet, we are much more likely to have a shooting. So that is something that we are looking at but very difficult to quantify," Shea said.
Starting next week, many officers with desk jobs will be put on patrol until September.
"More than 330 officers normally assigned to non-enforcement rolls are at the police academy getting trained for our summer all out program,” O’Neill said.
More overtime will be used to boost patrols in communities seeing an increase in murders and shootings.