By Sadef Ali Kully
The NYPD expressed concern about the rise in violent crime in the city at a news conference Monday. Queens currently ranks second-highest in homicides and third-highest in shooting incidents for the five boroughs.
NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill unveiled bleak numbers that reflected a 19.5 percent rise in homicides from Jan. 1 to May 31 across the city. There were 135 murders in the last five months compared to 113 murders last year during the same time period, according to NYPD statistics.
According to the NYPD, Queens has the second-highest number of homicides with 34, after Brooklyn, which had 46. Queens was ranked third in shooting incidents with 66, after Brooklyn, which had 180, and the Bronx, with 120.
Police officials said that 72 percent of the murder victims died due to gun violence, a statistic which usually averages around 57 percent.
According to NYPD statistics, 510 people were hit in shooting incidents in the first five months of the year a 9.3 percent increase over the same time period last year.
The police said the gun play is split between gang-related violence and random shootings. “We have seen over the last four, five years groups that seem to be shooting at each other for absolutely no reason,” said Dermot Shea, NYPD Deputy Commissioner during the news conference at 1 Police Plaza.
Despite the increase in shooting incidents and homicides, overall crime has been down by over 6 percent, according to the NYPD.
One of the tactics the NYPD plans on using is Summer All Out initiative this year, a program it launched last year in July to combat the rise in gun-related crimes.
Currently 330 NYPD non-enforcement officers are being trained to deal with the expected rise of violence in the summer months.
In Queens, the 113th Precinct in Jamaica will be one of the precincts chosen to receive police officers for the Summer All Out initiative.
NYPD crime statistics for the 113th Precinct from Jan. 1. through May 24 show there were seven murders, up from five murders a year ago, despite an overall 17 percent decrease in violent crimes.
At the 113th Precinct, shooting incidents were down by 25 percent to 12 incidents and 15 victims who were shot. In the same span last year there were 16 incidents and 20 victims.
Southeast Queens residents have been wary about the guns in the streets, especially since the murder of Det. Brian Moore from the 105th Precinct in Queens Village, who was fatally shot by a man who the officer suspected of carrying a weapon.
In a 103rd Precinct community meeting after Moore’s funeral in May, residents were alarmed and wanted to know if the NYPD would be bringing back stop-and-frisk in the neighborhood.
“Stopping [stop-and-frisk] was one of the biggest mistakes deBlasio made,” said Beulah Wilson, a Queens Village resident at the 103rd Precinct community meeting.