At least 83 shootings have struck New York City over the last nine days, matching a disturbing trend across the country’s largest cities. The victims included a 7-year-old girl, a man washing his car, and a teenage girl who was killed pushing her friend out of a gunman’s line of fire. This week count was close to triple the number of killings that occurred during the same week last year, but New York’s surge, which has 112 confirmed victims so far, is only the tip of the iceberg.
Chicago had 70 new shooting victims this weekend alone, and 105 the week before. Some shootings happened in broad daylight. Atlanta shootings have doubled from last year in the last three weeks alone.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” said a local resident about the increase thus far. In the days before, the body of an 18-year-old had been left lying in his neighborhood.
It remains unknown exactly how much the rate has risen in Los Angeles, with a 250 percent rise in homicides in early June.
The shootings are occurring as police scale down enforcement under pressure from politicians. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council recently agreed to slash the NYPD’s funding, though this has not stopped activists from calling for even greater action.
While not directly saying who was to blame, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea this weekend condemned the current state of affairs. He said the city’s entire justice system is “imploding,” as cases are left uninvestigated. “Each one of those represents somebody not being held accountable, and no consequences.”
Tony Herbert, a Brooklyn community leader, is now calling for stricter sentencing for illegal firearms. “I have not seen anything like this in my entire life living in New York,” he said yesterday.
Likewise, Chicago’s police Superintendent David Brown has implored city government to allow him greater latitude to deal with violent criminals, after three children were shot and killed. The youngest was just 1 year old.
“Let’s keep violent offenders in jail longer, and let’s revamp the home monitoring system. It’s not working,” Brown said, noting that violent offenders in the city are often let back onto the streets.
Local faith leaders have also come forward to call for action. “It would be an ultimate contradiction to march for justice for George Floyd and not say a word about a 3-year-old who can’t defend himself or speak for himself,” said Rev. Ira Acree. “Don’t miss the point. We say black lives matter. Black babies’ lives matter more.”