NYC crime: Shootings increase while arrests cut in half, data shows

NEW YORK (WABC) -- An analysis of crime statistics by 7 On Your Side Investigates shows shootings have increased dramatically over the past few months in New York City, while arrests have been cut by more than half.

From two men opening fire at a prayer vigil for shooting victims in Cyprus Hills, to a man getting shot in broad daylight walking home from work in Crown Heights, to a 1-year-old getting killed by a stray bullet while sitting in his stroller in Brooklyn -- it has been a violent summer in New York City.

7 On Your Side found shootings have jumped by 72% so far this year compared to the same time last year. The number of shooting victims has increased by more than 80% compared to 2019.

Despite community rallies to stop the violence, shootings continue while those getting arrested have decreased. NYPD police records show arrests are down by 54% this June compared to last June.

"It's the most horrific time to be in the police profession," said Professor Maria Haberfeld with John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She believes the number of violent crimes will continue to increase.

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"Cops aren't doing less work but they're not going out of their way to do more work and that's a huge difference," said Haberfeld.

It comes at a time when officers' actions are being caught on camera and scrutinized and when officers themselves have been the target of violence.

Some police experts say the police reforms the mayor signed into law this summer went too far.

The mayor blames the spike in crime on courts not being fully operational due to the pandemic.

But others believes it's a problem of too many guns. The NYPD's plainclothes anti-crime unit focused on guns until it was dismantled as part of a billion dollars in budget cuts.

The police union President Patrick J. Lynch responded to the findings in a statement saying: "This is the strategy that our elected leaders have chosen. They pushed for years to reduce arrests and summons, all while proclaiming crime is down. Now that we've passed the tipping point, it will not be so easy for us to bring the crime numbers back down again. The politicians have erased all the laws and policies we relied on to save our city the first time around."

The crime data for this story was compiled by Frank Esposito for Channel 7 Eyewitness News.

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