Last weekend we detailed how over a mere three day period from Aug.13 through Aug.15, a whopping 49 people were shot, which was five times more than the eight who were shot during the same 72 hours last year, according to data in the Washington Examiner.
And tragically the trend appears not some aberration but signals the city is fast becoming a war zone now with another deadly subsequent weekend. NYPD sources and local media already count more than 30 people shot so far this weekend.
This brings NYC to more than 1,000 total shooting incidents across the city year to date, already double all of last year, and the summer is not even over — a summer which ironically has witnessed a supposed heightened consciousness and awareness of police shootings of black Americans given the ongoing George Floyd and Black Lives Matters protests.
But in the case of New York City’s explosion of gun violence, people are being killed with the police far away from the scene, though in one instance over a week ago, it was a black police officer shot in Queens while looking for a parking spot merely a mile from his home.
And this weekend, according to local PIX11 News:
Citywide, there were at least 25 shootings that injured 31 people on Friday and Saturday, police said. Officers responded to 16 shootings on Saturday and nine on Sunday.
At least three of those shootings happened within just blocks of each other in Coney Island, according to police.
Among these, there were seven deaths between Friday and Sunday morning, according the NYPD, including a 25-year-old mother of three children.
Priscilla Vasquez was described in local reports as shot in the back of the head by an unknown gunman in the early morning hours of Saturday while standing on a sidewalk in front of a public school, just around the corner from her Bronx home.
Underscoring the senseless and often random nature of much of the violence, her friends and family don’t think she was the intended targeted, also given the gunman appeared to fire wildly and haphazardly.
?WANTED for HOMICIDE: Do you know this person? On 8/22 at approximately 5:20 AM, in front of 335 East 152nd St in the Bronx, a 25-year-old female was shot, causing her death. Call 800-577-TIPS, or DM @NYPDTips with any info. All calls are anonymous. pic.twitter.com/UkuthtAHYi
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) August 23, 2020
In another incident, a man in Queens was shot and killed while simply playing in a basketball tournament that was also part of a barbecue at a local park. Interestingly, news reports accompanying the tragic death actually blame lack of police presence for the violence there. Local residents are reportedly angry that police routinely “stay away” — something, it should be noted, that national BLM protests have demanded all along.
“We’ve been complaining about that park forever. It’s always dark,” said nearby resident Elaine Bailey. “That park is notorious. It’s been like that for years. It’s a known drug location,” she said of the site near 207 St. and Hillside Ave. in Hollis. “We complain about the drug dealing. Nobody does anything. This was bound to happen. If you’re going to commit a crime, it’s the best place to commit a crime.”
And one of the largest single shootings involved four victims shot in Coney Island Sunday morning, with the youngest victim, a 27-year old man, dying of his injuries.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) August 5, 2020
Meanwhile, as even The Washington Post has observed, the latest nixing of frontline crime fighting units doesn’t seem to be going so well:
“In June, the New York Police Department disbanded its controversial anti-crime unit — the plainclothes officers whose mission, to rid the streets of guns, once relied on a practice known as ‘stop and frisk’ later exposed to have disproportionately targeted innocent Blacks and Latinos.”
Instead this was substituted with more “community engagement” initiatives, though the criminals with guns don’t appear to have gotten the memo — or more cynically perhaps they’ve simply interpreted the lessened law enforcement presence as a license to kill.
On that note, FT published the below chart in mid-July, which covers the period which saw the fiercest protests in major American cities against the police killing of George Floyd.
Pressure has remained on city councils across the country to either shut down whole police departments or at least specific anti-crime units.
The result is that (at minimum it shouldn’t be hard to see correlation if not causation), as WaPo wrote, “The gun violence plaguing New York is reminiscent of the 1980s and ’90s. Authorities have recorded about 900 shootings so far this year, up from around 500 through the beginning of August 2019.”