Shootings in the Big Apple plummeted in August compared to the same time last year when gunplay was raging — and officials say that proves the city has “turned a corner” when it comes to crime.
But the number of shootings last month — 167, versus 241 reported during August 2020 — is still nearly double pre-pandemic levels.
“One shooting is too many, and yes, we are fighting high numbers, but since the beginning of the summer, the trend is going down,” Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said Tuesday during the mayor’s daily briefing.
In August 2019 and 2018, the Big Apple logged 91 and 76 shootings, respectively.
“I am happy to report that this is now three months in the bank where we have really turned the corner in pushing back that violence,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, crediting officers getting a historic number of guns off the street.
Asked how many of the gun arrests could be connected to shootings, Shea replied, “I don’t have that, nor do I think that number reliably exists.”
“I don’t think you’re going to find anyone that has that because you’re looking at so many variables, so you’d be looking at how many shootings have ballistics recovered, bullets, shell casings,” he said.
Harrison said the NYPD has made 900 arrests this year in connection to shootings, but the department has refused to provide numbers on how many acts of gun violence have been solved in 2021.
The city’s top cop also again pointed the finger at the courts, claiming the justice system was not fully functioning and therefore preventing the statistics on gun violence to return to pre-pandemic numbers.
“When you look at the court system, I don’t look at it like a luxury … it is directly related to public safety and we need to continue to do everything possible to keep it functioning at a high level,” Shea said. “We have to figure it out.”
The de Blasio administration has long blamed the court system on the spike in violence during the pandemic.
A spokesman for the Office of Court Administration slammed Shea’s statements Tuesday, saying the “continuing campaign to shift blame for their inability blunt the surge in shootings, has now gone from gaslighting to outright deceit.”
“So, today, to say that they are doing their part and we are not, is both the definition of the de Blasio administration and mendacity,” the rep, Lucian Chalfen, added.
Chalfen highlighted the court’s recent move to help speed up gun prosecutions that Shea signed off on.
“The Police Commissioner was fully and personally briefed by the Administrative Judge supervising the initiative and he endorsed the program,” Chalfen said.
Last month, murders were down to 53 from 58 last year. This year’s numbers, however, are nearly double from August 2019, when 31 murders were recorded.
Overall, crime was down 5.4 percent in August compared to the same month last year, but every category, except robbery, was up from the same period in 2019.