NYC Shootings Head to Record Low; Can Cops Claim Credit?

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Even as homicide rates have climbed in other cities, New York City is again on pace to have a near-record low number of shootings, and police are partly crediting refined tactics that include collecting more data and forensic evidence than ever before to go after the worst offenders, the Associated Press reports. “It’s no longer good enough to just make an arrest,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Durmot Shea, who said the department is trying to focus harder on the kind of arrests that make a difference by targeting a relatively small number of people responsible for making neighborhoods unsafe.

Through Dec. 4, New York had recorded 942 shooting incidents, putting the city on course to have even fewer than the 1,103 in 2013, the lowest number since the police began counting shootings in 1993. A majority of people who have been shot survived. As of Dec. 4, there were 313 killings, close to the 333 mark set in 2014. It’s not clear whether the crime reductions are due to refined police tactics or other factors, like a continuing influx of wealth into the city. Chicago, which has a third of New York’s population, has adopted a similar philosophy of quality-over-quantity gun arrests, yet the number of shootings and homicides there has soared. Alex Vitale, a sociologist at Brooklyn College, said targeted policing may make more sense in New York because, compared to Chicago, gun violence is concentrated in smaller pockets of poverty. The drop in the number of shootings also comes in an era when New York police are making fewer arrests overall and have vastly curtailed a “stop and frisk” strategy of halting and searching hundreds of thousands of young men on the street to make sure they weren’t carrying weapons.


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