Fifteen people were shot in New York City Saturday, compared to just one person on the same day a year ago, police said.
And the city has seen 395 people shot so far this year through Saturday compared to 238 people shot by the same time last year, police said.
The startling numbers show that shootings have not slowed down as COVID-19 restrictions loosen across the city.
Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD cop who is now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the gunplay has less to do with the pandemic and more to do with changes in criminal justice policy.
“The reasons are quite clear, police are paralyzed and prosecutors give excuses. It’s a gold era if you want to pick up a gun in New York City,” said O’Donnell, who believes many police officers are afraid to make arrests and prosecutors want to keep people out of jail. “The system won’t put blame on people. The word is out that the risk of carrying a gun are really negligible at this point.”
2020 saw a 97% increase in shootings and a 45% increase in homicides, levels of carnage not seen in over 14 years.
For many years, New York has been able to bill itself as “America’s safest large city,” but those days could be numbered, O’Donnell believes.
“The problem in New York City is we got into a comfort zone,” O’Donnell warned. “We are ignoring that there are people going to sleep every night worried about the personal safety of themselves, their children and their business.”
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