Shootings spike in NYC despite claims by Eric Adams, NYPD
Mayor Adams and his police commissioner have both been crowing about how shootings are down this year — but an alarming surge in gunfire now has the Big Apple looking “like the Wild, Wild West.”
Amid an overall decrease in the number of shootings so far this year in New York, shooting incidents and victims spiked by double-digit percentages last week during an ongoing outbreak of disturbing and bloody violence.
On Tuesday, 16 people were struck by bullets — including two separate incidents in which four people were shot — and on Wednesday there were an additional seven people shot, including a 17-year-old girl who was fatally shot in the face in Brooklyn.
On Thursday, a broad-daylight gun battle erupted in Harlem around 11:35 a.m., with two men shot — and one believed to be an innocent bystander, law-enforcement sources said.
“It’s like the Wild, Wild West,” a disgusted cop said.
The unrelenting gunplay has left victims’ families feeling that numbers alone don’t tell the story of how bad the violence has gotten — and they are furious at the mayor and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
“They just want to cover the fact that they can’t control the city anymore,” said Yanely Henriquez, whose 16-year-old daughter, Angellyh Yambo, was killed in the crossfire of a gunfight near her South Bronx high school in April.
The grieving mom demanded action from Adams.
“He needs to do something — really do something — about these guns on the street,” said Henriquez, 42.
Roger Frowner — whose brother, Los Angeles rapper Avanti Frowner, was fatally shot over his gold chain in a Bronx pharmacy in June — also said, “I definitely don’t think the right things are being done.”
“The mayor — all he is doing is just, once again, trying to put himself in a better position,” Frowner added.
Griselda Vile — whose brother, Daniel Enriquez, was killed in a random subway shooting in May — also fumed that “we have a mayor who spends more time smiling for the cameras than spending time in the office taking action.”
“Last June, I witnessed first-hand a man taking out a gun and shooting a group of individuals right outside my car,” she said in an email.
“The following month, across from my own residence, there was a drive-by shooting that –although gang-related — hit too close for me and my children.”
The Woodhaven, Queens, resident added: “So, you can imagine my horror when — once again within the vicinity of my own home and while I was en route to the grocery store with my oldest [child] — there was yet another violent crime in my area.”
“This time, four victims were shot in the early evening hours in Ozone Park,” she said.
According to the NYPD’s most recent statistics, citywide shootings this year were down 12.6% and the number of victims decreased by 11.7% as of Sunday, compared to the same period in 2021.
But last week, the numbers of incidents and victims spiked upward by 16.7% and 13.9%, respectively.
Near the scene of Thursday’s late-morning bloodshed at East 126th Street and Lexington Avenue, a bodega worker who gave his name as Kareem said he’s shocked by the number of shootings.
“It’s every day, every week with this s–t,” he said.
Neighborhood resident and city parks worker Bruce Barksdale, 58, said of Adams and gun violence: “Maybe he’s looking at statistics that say it’s down but he don’t live in Harlem.”
Patricia, a 69-year-old woman who was in Harlem to visit her daughter, also said, “It’s very scary.”
A veteran law enforcement official criticized Adams and Sewell for taking a victory lap earlier this month, when Sewell told ABC’s “GMA3”: “Our shootings are down, our number of victims are down, our homicides are down so far this year. And we continue to make more strides.”
Adams also boasted, “We’re doing our job of taking dangerous people off the streets and taking guns off the street,” before blaming judges, prosecutors and lawmakers for “not playing ball correctly” and “impacting some of our results.”
“It’s not about what we have done, but about what we’re doing,” the source said.
A veteran Brooklyn cop said, “We are seeing a lot more daytime shootings.”
“Before, shooters waited for the cover of darkness. Now, they have no fear of getting arrested so they carry their guns all the time.”
Another veteran cop said, “We take confirmed shots-fired jobs all day, every day.”
John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Maria Haberfeld, a former lieutenant in the Israeli National Police, said, “You have to look at this at what is the quality of life in the city regardless of the numbers and in my opinion, the quality of life, in my mind, is not good.”
“I don’t feel safer. I don’t feel safe in the city and I don’t think anyone does,” she said.
“I don’t see enough police presence on the streets. The presence of patrol officers on the streets needs to increase.”
John Jay professor Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD sergeant, said he was baffled by the increased gunplay “because we already went through the hottest part of the year.”
“Now the cool temperatures are here and it seems like everybody’s lost their minds,” he said.
“This is why I always say, I always tell the politicians: Don’t declare victory on crime in August or September because you have three months left.”
Another John Jay prof, former NYPD cop and Brooklyn prosecutor Eugene O’Donnell, called it “distressing” that spikes in shootings were “no longer confined to summer.”
“As we enter the fall, 16 people were shot in a day. You know, there are countries that don’t have 16 people shot in a year,” he said.
O’Donnell also said there seemed to be “a casualness to these shootings…they’re not even like purposeful shootings.”
“Guns are clearly everywhere. Offenders are clearly emboldened,” he said.
In June, Adams appointed ex-con Andre “A.T.” Mitchell, founder of the scandal-scarred Man Up! anti-violence group, as his “gun violence czar,” with a mission to “increase community safety and address the upstream causes of gun violence.”
In a prepared statement, City Hall said, “Mayor Adams has been clear that public safety is his top propriety and we must dam all the rivers that feed the sea of gun violence.”
“The administration is already making progress in driving down gun violence, leading to double-digit decreases in shootings and homicides year to date,” the statement said.
“We have more work to do to dam every river, and the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force — co-chaired by A.T. Mitchell — regularly meets to discuss how to promote community-based solutions to complement the efforts of law enforcement to keep New Yorkers safe.”
In a prepared statement, an NYPD spokesperson said, “Removing firearms from NYPD streets continues to be a priority and year-to-date, NYPD officers have seized more than 4,880 guns.”
“The department’s work to address gun violence is reflected in the citywide gun arrests police officers are effecting, a number that rose in August by 16% (405 v. 349) compared to the same period in 2021,” the spokesperson added.
“That monthly productivity means that citywide gun arrests through August are at a 27-year high, rising to 3,170 – which is a 4.4% increase compared with the 3,036 gun arrests through the first eight months of last year.”
Additional reporting by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon and Bernadette Hogan
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