New York City shootings, homicides soared in 2020, crime data shows

Murder rates spike in cities across America

Former police officer Phil Holloway joins ‘The Daily Briefing’ to discuss the rising murder rates in cities across the U.S.

Shootings and murders skyrocketed in 2020 throughout the Big Apple, the NYPD said as it released year-end crime data late Wednesday.

The number of shootings soared 97% from 777 in 2019 to 1,531 in 2020 and murders jumped by 44% from 319 to 462, according to the NYPD.

The city watched violence cut through all five boroughs in 2020, sometimes taking down innocent victims in crimes that shocked the city, such as the shooting of 1-year-old Davell Gardner, who was killed at a Brooklyn barbecue in July.

The NYPD said it made arrests in about a third — 32% — of the shooting incidents and established probable cause to arrest a suspect in an additional 6% of the cases, according to the release. NYPD detectives cleared 54% of homicides that occurred within calendar 2020, the release states. 

“The clearance rate for this violent crime reflects the NYPD’s deep commitment to public service and will only continue to improve over time as investigations progress,” the release states.

Burglaries also shot up 42% from 10,909 to 15,463 and car thefts soared by 67% from 5,422 to 9,038, officials said.

The NYPD also boasted an all-time low in overall index crimes.

“New York City and its Police Department were buffeted by conflicting forces in 2020, as a historic low in overall index crime was accompanied by significant upticks in homicides, shootings, burglaries and car thefts,” the nation’s largest police department said. 

The NYPD said overall crime dropped to 95,552 reported incidents in 2020, “representing 681 fewer victims than last year and 11,668 fewer victims than in 2014, the first year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration,” the release said.

The NYPD boasted a 29% increase — 4,253 v. 3,299 — in annual gun arrests for 2020 compared with 2019 – including 2,057 gun arrests in the last quarter of the year. The arrests came despite the NYPD disbanding its undercover anti-crime teams that were responsible for large numbers of gun takedowns in prior years.

New York City police officers detain and question a man in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

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“Unprecedented events of 2020 presented significant challenges for New York City and its police,” the release said. “From a diminished headcount beginning at the onset of COVID-19 to large-scale protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd in May, the NYPD’s resources were stretched further than at any time in recent memory.”

The release also touted the NYPD’s reform efforts and said those would continue in 2021.

“What New York City and our nation experienced in 2020 will resonate for a long, long time,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “The NYPD recognizes this as a time for asking and answering difficult questions, for reflection and action and for encouraging and serving New Yorkers. This will determine the way forward for all of us. Together, we will ensure the preservation of our collective public safety while also cultivating a culture that upholds the values and dignity of every New Yorker, in every neighborhood.’

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