The NYPD says youth violence still remains a 'growing problem.'
LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Major crimes in New York City spiked 23 percent this year - driven by a sharp increase in carjackings, robberies, and burglaries. Police say repeat offenders are fueling the surge.
One highlight - shootings and murders are down by double digits. However, youth violence remains a growing problem.
"Who's firing a gun in New York City multiple times? We know who they are and that's who we're focused on, a very small percentage of individuals are driving violence in New York City and each one of those individuals is under investigation by the New York City Police Department," said Michael Lipetri, NYPD Chief of Crime Prevention Strategies.
Lipetri highlighted a major achievement - shootings and murders are down in the city this year by double digits after spiking in 2021. He tells Eyewitness News that the biggest gains were in the Bronx.
"The data was showing that approximately 30 percent of all the New York City shootings happened in the Bronx, so what we did was we moved, not hundreds but thousands of extra police officers into the Bronx," he said.
While shootings overall were down, there is another troubling trend - the number of children getting shot is surging.
On Wednesday, police arrested a 17-year-old in connection to the murder of 14-year-old Prince Shabazz in Fordham Heights. She was one of 149 minors shot in the city this year.
Eyewitness News Reporter Derick Waller asked Lipetri why 10 percent of the shooting victims are under the age of 18.
"It's been fueled by gang and crew disputes and a lot of that is fueled by social media. We see music videos sometimes fueling this violence, but we've also seen our gun arrests are at its highest level in 27 years," Lipetri said.
Oresa Napper-Williams' son, Andrell was murdered in 2006 by a 15-year-old in Brooklyn. She says gangs continue to recruit teenagers to commit crimes, knowing they won't be charged as an adult.
"But they know that him being caught at the age of 15 that he would get a slap on the wrist and thus only receiving nine years for my son's murder, and he was not even allowed to testify against any of the others, so that is still a game that is being played," said Napper-Williams.
The NYPD says in order to bring the crime numbers back down, they are focused on prevention with at-risk youth.
"We want to get out in front of it. We want to speak to them. We want to speak to them," Lipetri said.
Prevention - to hopefully avoid more tragedy in 2023.