After a particularly violent summer, with shootings nearly double the amount they were this time last year, NY1 decided to spend time in one of the most impacted neighborhoods - Brownsville, Brooklyn, for a series we’re calling “On the Beat in Brownsville, Inside the 73rd Precinct."
Pointing at a big chart on her office wall inside Brooklyn's 73rd precinct, Lieutenant Barbara Fischer explained, “This sheet here is our 2020 nonfatal shootings. The whole thing is full."
Lieutenant Fischer is the commanding officer for the precinct's detective squad and keeps track of every shooting and murder in Brownsville and other neighborhoods covered by the precinct.
The lieutenant admits she’s stunned by the drastic increase in gun violence this summer after years of declines.
“The uptick in violence is so massive here it’s felt everywhere, every pocket, every corner," said Fischer.
Nineteen people were murdered in the 73rd precinct this year through Labor Day, an increase of more than 70 percent compared to the same period last year. That's more than twice the citywide increase of 35 percent.
A total of 86 people were shot in the area, a nearly 100 percent increase over last year.
“The violence has continued since June," said, Terrell Anderson, a deputy inspector. "I would say we started to see an uptick in gun violence and it has continued until now.”
Anderson, who is the 73rd precinct's commander, said the gangs have caused about half the area's shootings. He said the violence spiked once people started to venture outside in June after being on coronavirus lockdown.
A chart in his office also documents shootings and murders. The word "gang" is written by many of them.
There have been random disputes, robberies and drug transactions that have led to gun violence as well.
To combat the surge in shootings and murders, the 73rd and the neighboring 75th precinct in East New York began a novel partnership with the FBI in July.
“We’ve had operation safe streets, which is a task force between the NYPD and FBI where we are bringing up federal charges on a selected few who are committing these shootings,” said Anderson.
Commanding Officer of the 73rd Precinct, Deputy Inspector Terrell Anderson reviews documents inside the precinct building.
“They are actually working hand in hand with us. They are in the precincts every day and looking at these arrests as they come in. And every gun arrest that is made or every shooting arrest that is made and the background of the person is looked at.”
The filing of federal charges keeps defendants out of the state court system, avoiding the new state bail reforms that police officials blame for allowing many alleged criminals to remain on the streets.
“The bail problem, we lock somebody up and they’re out hours after, while we’re not even done with the paperwork. I think that’s very troubling,” explained Fischer.
Critics of the NYPD have accused officers of pulling back this summer because of dissatisfaction with the new bail laws and other criminal justice reforms.
Commanders of the 73rd claim that’s not true for their precinct. They say they’re making arrests, solving crimes and closing out cases.
“To get a homicide closing number at 60% is historical. It’s great, so they’re working here at the 73,” said Fischer.
But that still leaves several unsolved crimes.
The cops are pleading with the community to help do it’s part in coming forward, even anonymously to give up information on shooters in Brownsville.