Ben Chapman, Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020
The number of shooting victims in New York City more than doubled in 2020, with low-income and minority communities hardest hit by gun violence.
New York Police Department officials say the surge in shootings this year is greater than any rise the city has seen in years, and it has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 20, the city recorded 1,824 shooting victims, up nearly 104% from 896 during the same period a year earlier, according to NYPD data.
The number of shootings increased to 1,493 for the year so far, compared with 754 for the same time in 2019, the data showed. A single shooting could end up with more than one victim, which accounts for the difference in totals between victims and incidents.
The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice said people of color accounted for most of the victims.
An analysis of NYPD data by that office showed that 1,440 of 1,495 shooting victims between Jan. 1 to Oct. 1, or 96%, were either Black or Hispanic. During that period, 29 shooting victims were white.
While the number of victims has increased in 2020, the racial breakdown of shooting victims follows patterns in previous years, the analysis showed.
Eight low-income neighborhoods, including six in Brooklyn and two in the Bronx, have the highest number of shootings of any neighborhoods in the city, according to the analysis. Gun violence has been a persistent and longstanding problem in those neighborhoods, which include the Brownsville and East New York sections of Brooklyn and parts of the South Bronx. The eight neighborhoods accounted for the most shootings in the city in 2019 and in 1993, according to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
NYPD officials have attributed this year’s rise in shootings in part to gang activity, which is often concentrated in poor neighborhoods where shootings are more prevalent. NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said in a recent interview that officers would concentrate on arresting gang leaders in an attempt to address the issue.