The New York Police Department has announced that it will be deploying 330 more officers to patrol the streets amid an increase in shootings and homicides this year.
According to The Wall Street Journal,
though overall city crime decreased 6.6 percent through May 31, homicides and shootings have seen their second consecutive year of increases despite a record low in 2013.
Specifically, shootings increased 8.9 percent from 403 to 439 compared to the same period last year. And of the 36 additional shootings, 23 occurred in the 28-day period ending May 31.
Murders increased by 22 from 113 to 135, a 19.5 increase officials said, according to the Journal. Nine murders happened in the 28-day period ending May 31.
"We're struggling with homicides and shootings," Chief of Department James O'Neill, the NYPD's top uniformed officer, said at a crime briefing, according to the Journal.
To illustrate, police released video footage of a man firing 22 shots from a handgun with a 30-round clip in a busy Brooklyn area one Sunday.
"He just fired randomly on the street," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, according to the Journal. "This is a Sunday afternoon."
The 330 officers were pulled from non-enforcement jobs and deployed to the police academy where they are being trained to start duty on the streets on Monday.
In 2014, the department initiated a similar operation after an increase in shootings but this year the program has started a month earlier, O'Neill said, according to the Journal.
Officials said that last year's operation helped reduce the number of shootings, the Journal reported.
"When we're talking about murders and shootings, we're talking about people's lives," O’Neill said, according to the Journal. "These aren't just numbers. We do not take this lightly."
The NYPD is also developing a plan to use overtime to put additional officers on the streets in the top 15 most dangerous precincts on weekends from Friday thought Sunday, O'Neill said.
The increase in violence coincides with a decrease in overall documented contact between police officers and the public, with total numbers of summonses and arrests down.
Officials said that the increase in shootings and homicides is concentrated in 10 precincts in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and tend to be committed by repeat offenders or people with lengthy criminal records, the Journal said.
"We know it's a relatively small number of people committing this violence," O’Neill said, according to the Journal.
Enforcement is expected to increase with the additional officers on the streets, leading to more people being stopped in city hot spots, but O'Neill said "the stops that we want are good stops."
"We want stops and we want… enforcement activity [against] the people connected with the violence," he said, according to the Journal.
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