There was a 97 per cent jump in the number of shootings and a nearly 45 per cent surge in murders, including 15 consecutive weeks of gunfire, as Covid-19 ravaged New York City in 2020, according to the latest statistics from the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Official sources said on Friday that the NYPD responded to 1,531 shooting incidents across the city’s five boroughs in 2020, 754 more than the all of 2019, reports Xinhua news agency.
The NYPD Detective Bureau investigated 462 killings around the city in 2020, 143 more than the year before.
There had not been such alarming violence since 2006, when 1,565 shootings were reported,
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying.
At the other end of the grim tally, there were decreases in rapes, robberies and assaults, although the statistics showed jumps in burglaries and car thefts, the sources said.
Overall crime went down, if only slightly, by 0.9 per cent.
As of December 27, 94,314 felony crimes were reported in the city, 845 less than the year before, according to the NYPD statistics.
Local media reports had attributed to the fierce tide of crime to the rampant Covid-19 pandemic and a lowered morale among the police force over a relentless cut of their annual budget for 2021.
NYPD officials have also attributed this year’s rise in shootings in part to gang activity, which is often concentrated in poor neighbourhoods where shootings are more prevalent, the newspaper said.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison had said in a recent interview that officers would focus on arresting gang leaders to address the issue.