By Anthony M. Destefano
NEW YORK CITY — The number of shootings in New York City has increased during the past several weeks after months of declines, with several shootings a day keeping police busy, particularly in Brooklyn, the latest NYPD statistics show.
While the number of shootings is still down by about 1 percent this year compared with the same time in 2013, the running totals for shooting incidents over 28-day periods have shown increases of as high as 30 percent, according to the police statistics.
Police and criminal justice experts said the recent shooting increase has been sparked by the warmer weather and a marked increased in gang activity, particularly in Brooklyn.
"Weather is always an issue; people are out there, especially on gang stuff," NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said.
"People have been pent up. It has been an extremely bad winter . . . you have a situation where they [gangs] are waiting around for a specific target," retired NYPD detective sergeant Joseph Giacalone said.
Police said the gang element was evident Monday night, when a 13-year-old bystander was shot in the head while a reputed gang member was wounded in what appeared to be a gang shooting. The boy is recovering in a hospital but has an eye injury, police said.
The suspect was seen on video surveillance cameras and is being sought.
The most recent COMPSTAT data for the four weeks ending Sunday showed that shootings increased 6 percent from 66 to 70, while the number of victims was up nearly 12 percent, from 76 to 85 so far this year. A week earlier, the previous rolling 28-day shooting-incident and victim tallies increased 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Shootings in Brooklyn have jumped the most. The 73rd Precinct, which covers parts of East New York, accounts for one-third of all shootings and leads the city, with 24 shootings this year compared with 14 at the same period in 2013, police said.
Davis said that in response to the increased shootings, the NYPD is looking to put together large conspiracy cases against some of the gangs as investigators identify shooting hot spots.
Davis said that while the number of stop-and-frisk encounters are down, the percentage resulting in confiscated guns has increased.
However, Davis didn't have statistics on the actual number of guns confiscated.
But the NYPD is seeking to intensify its actions against the gangs in an effort to reverse the shooting trends.
"Bad guys shooting each other out in broad daylight is never a good thing," Giacalone said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2014 Newsday