In New York City, more than 20 children have become victims of gun violence in just 10 months — doubling New York City Police Department data from the same time period just two years ago, Meghan Gallagher writes for The 74 Million.
Many of the violent incidents became heart-wrenching headlines, stories like that of a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the head by a grazed bullet while boarding an MTA bus in Harlem earlier this month.
Police say he was the intended target, and he’s expected to make a full recovery. Footage of the aftermath shows one bullet hole that shattered the bus window, and another hitting a metal bar holding up the plexiglass bus driver protector. It’s because of that metal bar that the bus driver wasn’t harmed in the incident, according to NBC New York.
In Queens, a 10-year-old boy was shot and killed this past June after an unknown shooter fired numerous rounds into the home in Far Rockaway around 9:30 PM. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about the attack, saying the young boy had his whole life ahead of him, according to CNN. *
“Too many of our young people have been deprived of the chance to grow old and to lead the lives they deserve because of gun violence,” said U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke, who represents central Brooklyn, speaking at a gun buyback event on Jan. 30 after record high levels of gun violence in her district.
“Our communities, our culture, and most importantly our youth, have all suffered.” she said, according to The 74 Million.
Unfortunately, New York City is not the only metropolis seeing an alarming increase in shootings involving teenage and children victims.
Across the country, 4,612 teens and children have been victims of shootings, with 1,215 killed this year — surpassing past years’ numbers and comparable to 2020’s record-high stats, Gallagher details.
Most notably, Philadelphia and Chicago residents have been ravaged by gun violence.
According to the City of Chicago Violence Reduction Dashboard, 362 kids have been shot this year — and 43 of the shootings were fatal. Earlier in October, a gunman arrived at a Chicago High School at the 3 PM dismissal bell, shooting a security guard six times and a female student three times, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database via Twitter.
No arrests were made.
In Philadelphia, more than 170 children have been shot in the past 10 months, notably a 13-year-old who was gunned down outside of an elementary school earlier this month, The 74 Million detail.
Experts continue to say the pandemic has triggered the growing gun violence nationwide, noting our ‘new normal’ is difficult to come to terms with.
“The pandemic brought on a lot of stressors that lead to mental health issues,” said Christopher Herrmann, an assistant professor at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former NYPD crime analyst. “An increase in mental illness will spark the violence.”
Advocates hope that with more attention to these cases, and cooperation from lawmakers, children can return to school, and their lives, with assured safety.
This summary was prepared by TCR staff writer Andrea Cipriano.