New York City Shootings Surpass 2019 Year-End Totals, City Leaders Demand Community Help

The New York Police Department reported 777 shootings in 2020 through August 1, totaling more victims and incidents so far this year than 2019 in its entirety.

A flurry of shootings in New York City's five boroughs over the past weekend involved at least two teenagers and put NYC's total of shooting victims on the year to at least 942. NYPD data shows there were 776 shootings throughout all 12 months of 2019 and a total of 922 victims—at least 20 fewer than in the eight months of this year.

The city's homicide rate is also tracking higher than the previous year, with 237 reported year-to-date through August 1—an increase of 46 from the 181 murder victims recorded during the same time period in 2019. Homicide statistics range from shootings, stabbings and other murderous acts. On Monday, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said inmates being released from Rikers Island and state prisons is partially to blame, and not the disbanding of the NYPD's Anti-Crime Unit as many city leaders have suggested.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says one of the biggest misconceptions is that the disbanding of the NYPD’s anti-crime unit is to blame for the city's surge in shootings. He says low inmate populations are significantly more impactful.

— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) August 3, 2020

At least six more people were shot throughout New York City between Saturday night and Sunday morning, adding to the city's gun violence numbers for the year.

In response, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, joined other city leaders in calling for renewed efforts to tighten local communities and policing efforts. He cited the city's dismantling of the NYPD's Anti-Crime Unit, as well as the strained relationship between the police and city residents in the aftermath of months of anti-police brutality protests throughout the country.

"We need to do more at our bus terminals, to do spot checks of the bags that are coming in. We need to do more, even at some of our bridges. People are bringing guns in," Adams told WCBS-TV. "When a bullet leaves the barrel of a gun it does not discriminate, if it hits a police officer in a blue uniform or an everyday young person in blue jeans. We need to come together. We need each other to make sure this city is safe."

Newsweek reached out to Adams' office for any additional remarks Monday morning but did not receive a reply before publication.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez agreed with the borough president, urging residents to hold shooters more accountable. Shooters in several of this past weekend's incidents are still at large as police are seeking information that could lead to their arrest.

"We know that there are people in the community who know who's committing the violence," Gonzalez told CBS New York.

New York is not the only city seeing a surge in gun violence this year. In Chicago, at least 2,249 people have been shot this year—695 more than in the same time period in 2019, according to data compiled by the Chicago Tribune. There were 1,554 total shootings throughout Chicago in 2019.

The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York has repeatedly placed blame at the feet of Mayor Bill De Blasio and others who have agreed with protest efforts to help defund the police and move such resources over to education. "You made the laws, you set the policies, what did you think would happen?" the group tweeted last month.

new york city shootings 2020
The New York Police Department on Sunday reported 777 shootings in 2020 through August 1, totaling more victims and incidents than 2019 in its entirety. SPENCER PLATT / Staff/Getty Images