NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Whether it's a residential street in the Bronx or a subway station in Midtown, Manhattan, New Yorkers feel more vulnerable than they have in years.
"It's just a very sad situation, what's going on in New York City," one Harlem resident said. "I hope New York City gets better."
Violent crime has been rising over the past two years, with crazed, unstable people in the subways and fearless teenagers with guns.
Shootings that once took place in back alleys now happen on crowded streets in the middle of the afternoon, gang members blasting at one another with bystanders caught in the crossfire.
Among the latest victims is an infant, struck in the face with a stray bullet.
Police officers are being shot, and unsuspecting subway riders are being attacked at random. Others are being robbed.
In the past two months, it's become an onslaught.
"Certainly the levels of safety that we saw during the last 10 years are now being reversed, and it's a serious moment," Citizens Crime Commission of New York President Richard Aborn said. "No one should undermine how serious this is."
There were 485 murders in New York City in 2021, the highest total in 10 years. There were also more than 1,500 shootings, the highest in 15 years and double the number just two years ago.
And underground, major felonies are surging.
"It's not just the law, you know, it's people thinking that they can get away with whatever they want," Darcel Clark, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. "That's where we are now, which is really scary. Just a total disrespect for humanity."
Aborn said early intervention is key.
"The age at which somebody first picks up a gun is getting younger and younger and younger," he said. "We now have 12- and 13-year-olds picking up guns and carrying. We really better, increasingly better focus on that."
Aborn believes Mayor Eric Adams understands the crisis -- but needs to act quickly.
"I think he has a very short window to put a cap on the rise in crime," Aborn said. "I think it will come down, but it's going to come down gradually."
He is convinced that targeted anti-gun patrols can be done legally, and that federal agents have a role to play.
"We need to set up true interstate strike forces to go after the illegal guns coming up what we call the 'Iron Pipeline' from Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Texas, Alabama and Georgia and Virginia," he said. "The feds could help us do that tomorrow morning."
Clark is convinced that coordinated investigations will help turn the tide.
"We're putting together investigations that are phenomenal," she said. "And once we get them now, it's going to be able to stick because every agency is working together."
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