New York City has had more shootings so far this year than in the whole of 2019, after another violent Saturday night tipped the scales, and seven shootings followed in the early hours of Sunday.
There were 776 recorded shootings in the whole of 2019, according to NYPD data.
And on Saturday night a 24-year-old man walked bleeding into Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx, taking the number of reported shootings this year to 777.
'It only gets worse from here,' said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
'As the shootings continue, so will retaliation. It's a vicious cycle that the NYPD worked hard to mitigate, but that they are no longer able and in some cases willing to do', he told the New York Post.
The victim of the 777th shooting told police he heard gunfire at the Mitchel Houses project in Mott Haven, and only realized he had been injured when he felt the pain, the Post reported.
There were a further 10 victims reported on Sunday — including two people hit during a party in East New York.
The news capped a week that averaged a murder a day, according to police sources.
There were 32 shootings, leaving 36 separate victims, in the past seven days — far more than the 19 attacks for the same week last year.
The shooting at an East New York party happened at a house where neighbors said there had been trouble before.
A 40-year-old man was shot in the stomach and leg while a 42-year-old woman was hit in the right calf in the attack at 4:30am, the NYPD said.
'They were standing there when an unknown male approached and started shooting,' an NYPD spokesman said.
Both were taken to Brookdale Hospital where their condition was not released.
A neighbor complained that the party — a gathering around a refrigerator in an alleyway between two houses — started at 8pm and 'went on and on,' only finishing when the shots rang out in the early hours.
'The police need to shut these parties down,' the female neighbor said, adding that there was a shooting there earlier this summer.
For years, officials have embraced the title of the 'safest big city in the country.'
Crime in New York has fallen drastically since 1990, when there were 2,245 killings in the city.
Last year, there were 300 murders in the city - up eight per cent compared with 2018, police statistics showed. That was the highest number in three years, alarming some residents.
In the year to June 30 there were 181 murders - a 23 per cent increase on the first six months of 2019. From January through June 2019, New York City had a record low of 135 homicides.
And gun crime is rocketing as well.
Five years ago, there were 1,138 shootings recorded. The number fell since then, to a low of 754 in 2018.
Since then, the number has crept up, and 2020 is on track to be a depressingly dangerous year.
Every borough in New York City has been affected by the surge in gun crime in 2020, with 952 people injured or killed, and children among the dead.
Between June 1 and June 30, there was a 130 per cent increase in the number of shooting incidents across the city, according to the latest data, released on July 6.
The Upper West Side has seen the largest increase, with a 600 per cent rise in shootings recorded by the 24th Precinct, two blocks from Central Park - there was only one by this time last year, and there have been seven so far.
The largest total number of shootings have taken place in two neighboring and notoriously troubled Brooklyn precincts - the pair of them accounting for 109 of the 777 shootings, or 14 per cent of the city's tally.
East New York's 75th Precinct recorded 58 shootings so far this year - the most of any in the city, and about 14 per cent more than last year's tally at this time.
The nearby 73rd Precinct in Brownsville has recorded 51 shootings so far, a 50 per cent surge from the 34 counted last year.
Among the victims was one-year-old Davell Gardner Jr, who was shot in the stomach and killed on July 12, while sitting in his stroller at a cookout in a Brooklyn playground.
Three men were also wounded in the shooting, which happened near the Raymond Bush Playground in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn.
Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy at the little boy's funeral, on July 27, and called the boy's death 'a disgrace'.
'If nothing shakes this community, to see this young baby in a casket that doesn't even need pallbearers,' Sharpton said. 'His father could've walked him down by himself. This is a disgrace.
'I don't care who you are, what title you got, how much money you got. If you can look at a baby and not stop this gun violence, you are not worth anything to anybody. The problem we got is too many people with titles, no functions.'
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, and the senior NYPD leaders have given a variety of reasons for the bloodshed.
They have blamed coronavirus and the corresponding closure of courts; anti-cop sentiment; and the discredited idea that inmates released under state bail-reform law were to blame.
De Blasio has offered only a vague plan to combat the problem that largely amounts to gun-buyback programs and an increase in foot patrols in areas with high shootings.
He has refused to address the correlation between the surge in gun violence and the disbanding of the NYPD's 600-officer unit responsible for taking guns off the streets.
The plainclothes anti-crime unit had come under criticism for aggressive tactics that Dermot Shea, commissioner of NYPD, said led to distrust in communities of color.
The unit was dissolved on June 15, and the officers were reassigned to other jobs.
Shea said the move was not done as a response to national protests following the death of George Floyd on May 25, and a surge in demands for an end to police brutality.
However, it did come in the midst of the protests, and followed an announcement three days previously that the NYPD budget would be cut by $1 billion.
'We have identified savings that would cut over $1 billion dollars, including reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime, shift responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses,' said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and other committee chairs, in a joint statement after the decision.
The unit had achieved some success.
Gun arrests were up eight per cent compared to last year by the time it was dissolved.
Gun arrests have since fallen 60 per cent over the past four weeks, officials said on Monday.
The troubling trend of gun violence began in May, when the city saw a 64 per cent jump in shootings during the month compared to 2019.
By the end of June, the city tallied 205 shootings — a 130 per cent jump from last year.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.