Shootings in New York City have been rising for two straight years, the first time that has happened since the end of the 1990s, reports the New york Times. Homicides by gunfire, seen as a key measure of preventable violence, are up steeply this year. Of the 135 killings through May, 98 involved a gun, up from 69 such killings in 2013 and in 2014. The trends raise concern heading into the summer months, when street violence is higher. There have been 439 shootings this year, 20 percent higher than the same period in 2013, which was a historically low year. This year's figure is well under the more than 2,000 logged over the same period two decades ago.
For Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose efforts to improve police-community relations depend on a force often skeptical of him, increases in violence have reanimated an issue that has stalked him. The question remains how to quell gunplay in an era when stop-and-frisk tactics are used far less frequently than before its excessive use came under widespread criticism. That question has grown more urgent as police around the U.S. have faced greater scrutiny in the aftermath of police killings of unarmed blacks in Missouri, South Carolina, Ohio and elsewhere. On the presidential campaign trail and at protests nationwide, there have been louder calls to end decades of aggressive tactics borne of a time when crime was much higher.