New York City endured a 2020 crime surge straight out of hell – a 97 per cent jump in shootings and a nearly 45 per cent surge in murders, including 15 weeks straight of gunfire as COVID-19 ravaged the city.
The New York Police Department released the sobering preliminary year-end stats on Friday, eager to turn the page on a tally that recorded more shootings from mid-May through mid-September than in all of 2019, a soul-crushing surge that never let up – with 1868 people hit by bullets.
When the ball fell in Times Square, the NYPD had responded to 1531 shooting incidents across the five boroughs, 754 more than in all of 2019, officials said.
The NYPD Detective Bureau investigated 462 killings around the city – 143 more than the year before.
The hasn’t been such alarming violence since 2006, when 1565 shootings were reported, according to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
At the other end of the painful tally, there were decreases in rapes, robberies and assaults, although the stats showed jumps in burglaries and car thefts, officials said.
Overall crime was down, if only slightly, by 0.9 per cent.
The out-of-control bloodshed began its stranglehold early this year, with Shea and other officials saying their concerns about bail reform were being realised – that too many suspects were freed with without bail, with judges stripped of discretion to keep potentially violent offenders behind bars.
The criticism mounted when scores of jailed prisoners were let out to mitigate the relentless virus spread among that population.
By May 10, murders had crept up just slightly, with 108 compared with 104 in 2019; But shootings jumped 14 per cent, to 278 from 245.
The following week’s numbers were frightening: 37 people were shot – kicking off a surge that would take off with a fury after the caught-on-video police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis May 25.
With Floyd protests in the city, policed by thousands of NYPD officers who responded to riots and looting, there were more crime hikes.
By early summer, shootings had skyrocketed, culminating in a horrific July 4 weekend in which 41 people were shot, nine fatally, in one day – carnage that police say was primarily caused by street crews and gangs.
From the first week of June through the second week of September, 985 people were shot in the city, according to statistics. For all of 2019, 777 people were shot, officials said.
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