Share
News

2020, the Year of 'Defund the Police,' Was NYC's Bloodiest Year in Nearly a Decade

Share

Heralded as the safest big city in America in recent years, New York City is closing out its bloodiest year in nearly a decade, grappling with a surge in homicides and a pandemic authorities say has helped fuel violence.

The city had recorded 447 killings as of Tuesday, a 41 percent increase over last year and the largest number since 2011. The number of people shot has more than doubled last year’s total, nearing a 14-year high.

Among the victims: a 1-year-old boy sitting in his stroller at a summer cookout; a 53-year-old teacher walking his dog; and a 43-year-old mother looking out the window of her child’s third-floor bedroom. All three were killed by stray bullets.

The carnage, however startling, pales in comparison to the bullet-riddled years of the early 1990s. Still, 2020 marked the third consecutive year of rising homicides after New York City recorded a modern-era low of 292 killings in 2017.

Police leaders are eagerly anticipating the turn of the calendar, pointing to unprecedented challenges officers faced as COVID-19 brought the city to its knees.

Trending:
NY Rep to Introduce Sickening Bill for Unvaccinated: 'Do Your Part or Pay'

Crimefighting this year has been complicated by everything from budget cuts to the ubiquity of mask wearing. Clearance rates fell as detective squads were stricken by the virus, and faith in law enforcement faltered amid police killings of black people.

“We’re definitely coming out of that dark period,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at police headquarters on Tuesday. “The confluence of COVID into the protests into all of the debate about defunding the police — I can’t imagine a darker period.”

The spike in violence started just as coronavirus policies began disrupting lives and shuttering businesses, and it reached a crescendo over the summer, as the city recorded an average 57 killings per month in July, August and September.

By comparison, each of those months averaged 33 homicides in 2019.

The surge caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who threatened in August to send federal agents to his hometown if local authorities couldn’t stop the bloodshed.

But New York’s crime spike paralleled an uptick in violence across the U.S. in a year shaped by pandemic-related restrictions and street protests against perceived police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

Did the movement to defund police have an effect on the rising murder rate?

“The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on society in low-income communities, and it just adds to the social disorganization that exists,” said Samuel Walker, a policing expert and professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

In New York, police officials have blamed bail reforms that went into effect at the start of the year for putting offenders back on the streets.

At the same time, the police department has been dealing with a wave of retirements that Shea said “couldn’t go any higher,” fewer recruits because of budget cuts and a mid-year upheaval in how it roots out gun violence.

Related:
States Defying Biden COVID Mandate by Carving Out 'Natural Immunity' Exception

In July, after a “Defund the Police” protest became a full-blown occupation outside City Hall, the city shifted $1 billion out of the police budget by moving school security functions back to the city’s school system, cutting overtime and eliminating a nearly 1,200-person recruiting class.

The NYPD in June disbanded its plainclothes anti-crime units, which focused primarily on seizing illegal guns, amid criticism of their aggressive tactics and involvement in a number of police shootings and complaints.

The change came amid what Shea described as “an endless supply of guns.”

Still, New York remains far safer than in the early 1990s, when there were more than 2,000 killings per year.

It’s also statistically safer than many of the other big cities also seeing an increase in killings. The nation’s largest city, with about 8.3 million residents, New York City has a homicide rate of about 5.2 per 100,000.

Los Angeles, which has 4 million residents, had 322 homicides as of Dec. 12 — up 30.4 percent from 247 at the same point last year — for a rate of about 8 per 100,000.

Killings in Chicago, meanwhile, are up about 56 percent this year.


[jwplayer KGMrPl7i]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation

Notice: Due to threatened de-monetization, we have temporarily removed commenting while we build a long-term commenting solution that allows you to voice your opinion freely and allows us to continue to publish the news fearlessly and cover topics that you care about. If you would like to personally partner with The Western Journal to help us continue publishing while under relentless assault by Big Tech, please visit our subscription page here. We encourage you to share this article and discuss with your friends.