The gangbangers who couldn’t shoot straight; NYC shootings up 41%; murders down 15%

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Early in the morning of  Tuesday, July 1, two rival gangs bumped into each other in the Good Stuff Diner on West 14th Street in Manhattan. Their animosity soon tumbled into the street, where they proceeded to reenact the gunfight at the OK Corral.

The difference between those two events? In the Good Stuff Shootout, only one person was hit, and escaped by cab to a nearby hospital. This is just the latest evidence of a curious trend in New York City.  Since January 1, in the five boroughs,  over 500 people were hit by bullets, a 13 percent increase over the comparable period a year ago.  Then in May, the number of shootings went off the charts. In the 28 days from May 14 – June 10, 41 percent more people were shot, compared to the same four-week period last year.

But despite the increase in flying hot lead, homicides are down. So far in 2014, there have been 120 murders, a 15 percent decline. So how does more shooting result in fewer murders? Steven Messner, a criminal justice professor at the State University of New York at Albany, says that despite the increase in shooting victims, the declining homicide rate reflects in part improved emergency medical response times that turn fatal shootings into non-lethal events.

I see two other possible explanations: 1. The Department of the Interior has bought up all the quality ammo. 2. The marksmanship of gangbangers has taken a serious dive. Since Mayor Bill De Blasio has made it necessary for the NYPD to “reform” the stop and frisk policy, that sounds like the better reason. Now that any wannabe shooter can pack without fear of being searched, the number of crappy shooters has likely gone way up.

Is Police Commissioner Bill Bratton worried? Evidently not. Looking at the bright side of a dark statistic, Bratton says he’s pleased about the decline in homicides and isn’t worried about the gun violence. In a recent conversation with reporters, Bratton focused on the city’s decline in homicides since the beginning of the year. “As of this morning, I think we are down 24 homicides,” he said. “That is preliminary. [But] if the current trend were to continue, we will fall under 300.”

Excuse me for being critical. At its worst, New York had 2,200 murders a year. But isn’t calling 300 murders an acceptable number a bit lazy? In rationalizing this number, Bratton added, “We see an increase in shootings at the moment. But I’m comfortable that we’re aware of where they are happening, why they’re happening, who is doing it.”

That has to be good news to all the mothers in Bed-Stuy, Harlem, East New York, and the South Bronx. When the crappy shooters in those neighborhoods miss other crappy shooters by a mile, and their rounds go through your bedroom window, it’s all good. The commish knows where the crappy shooters are and what they’re up to.

Some in the NYPD aren’t as sanguine. They understand that shootings usually go up in the summer, and believe that trend will be exacerbated now that the police are wary about using stop and frisk. Since January, 10.2 percent fewer guns have been recovered compared to the same period in 2013. According to a source quoted by The New York Post, “Gangbangers were afraid to bring out guns because they may be randomly stopped and arrested. That’s all in the past now.” Another source told the Post, “Under [NYPD Commissioner Ray] Kelly, we went after guns on the street. We stopped the guys in the precincts who we knew were criminals and took guns off them. [It was] proactive policing. We are a reactive police force now.”

Other than the Mayor and thousands of gangbangers, who else is glad to see the demise of stop and frisk? The Mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray. In a recent interview with Ebony Magazine about her new role as chairperson of The Mayor’s Fund To Advance New York City, a private nonprofit agency, Ms. McCray said, “When you look at the history of the city and who has been in office, [this administration] is very different. I have a different perspective on policy. I worked my way up and, as a result, I think I relate to regular people.” In the same interview, she said that the issue of stop-and-frisk was “more urgent and tangible” for them because their teenage son Dante is half black. “I don’t think we had a different perspective than other parents of children of color,” she said. “It is not a new issue. I have a brother and male cousins and nephews. ‘Stop and frisk’ has many names, and I’ve been aware of [it] since I was a little girl and wasn’t living in New York.”

Personally, I think my recently deceased mother had a thought that is more relevant. She was a piano teacher, and frequently told her students, “Practice makes perfect.” Now that New York’s gangbangers are free to carry at will and shoot whenever the mood strikes, their aim should become a lot less crappy.

http://nypost.com/2014/06/10/shootings-spike-in-nyc-over-the-last-year/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/10/us-usa-newyork-crime-idUSKBN0EL27520140610

http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2014/jun/19/homicides-down-city-shootings/

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/chirlane-mccray-knew-type-role-de-blasio-administration-blog-entry-1.1834346

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