2020 Crime Round-up: Murder, Shootings Make Comeback in Brooklyn

chalk outline and evidence markers at crime scene
Chalk outline and evidence markers at crime scene. 123rf Stock Photo. Copyright : lightfieldstudios (Follow)

Brooklyn shooting incidents rose a jaw-dropping 127% and murder increased a shocking 70% in 2020 with numbers not seen in 10 years, according to New York City Police Department (NYPD) preliminary totals released on Friday.

The NYPD breaks down police boroughs into two sectors – Brooklyn North comprised of 10 police precincts and Brooklyn South comprised of 13 police precincts.

Brooklyn North had 102 reported murders in 2020 compared to 65 in 2019 or a 56.9% increase in homicides. The precincts in this sector with the largest increases were the 73rd, 75th and 77th precincts covering East New York, Brownsville and Crown Heights. These precincts reported 71 murders in 2020 as compared to 35 in 2019.

Brooklyn South, though less violent than Brooklyn North, saw a 94.1% increase in murder with 66 homicides in 2020 compared to 34 in 2019. The precincts with the largest amount of murders last year were the 60th, 67th, 70th and 76th covering Coney Island, East Flatbush, Flatbush/Ditmas Park and Red Hook. These precincts accounted for 39 of the 66 reported homicides.

Overall in Brooklyn, there were 648 shooting incidents in 2020 resulting in 804 shooting victims as some shootings result in multiple victims. In 2019, there were 285 shooting incidents resulting in 357 victims being wounded by gunfire.

Boroughwide both burglary and car theft saw major increases in reported incidents for the year with burglary up 28% and car theft up 59% in 2020 compared to 2019.

On the other side, overall felony crime in the borough was down a little more than 1% with reported rape, robbery and grand larceny all reporting double-figure percentage drops, while reported felony assaults was about even between 2020 and 2019.

Critics attribute the rise in violent crime to bail reform laws and restricting police tactics. Police and criminal justice reform advocates counter that statistics do not show bail reform as a cause for higher crime. They also advocate for better funding to anti-violence nonprofits from local neighborhoods along with “reimagining” how the NYPD works to curb crime.

Mayor de Blasio’s spokesperson Bill Neidhart defended the city’s policies regarding the violent crime uptick to the Daily News.

 “Shootings are up nationally, which clearly shows this is driven by the pandemic, not bail reform or any forces that are specific to New York City,” said Neidhardt.

“Yes, Mayor de Blasio has driven down arrests, that’s because he is opposed to mass incarceration. The mayor regularly calls for people who commit violent crimes to be arrested,” he added.