‘No. 1 priority’: NYPD busts gangs in push to curb violence | State | #schoolshooting

New York City has been wrestling with a spike in violent crime since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. After reaching a record low 292 homicides in 2017, the city hit 468 in 2020 and more than 480 last year. At the same time, shootings have surged, with more than 1,500 each of the last two years, according to police data.

Still, New York remains far safer than in the early 1990s, when there were more than 2,000 killings per year, or even through most of the decade after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The No. 1 priority is to get this violence down,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig told officers before Tuesday’s arrests.

Deputy Chief John Chell, the commanding officer of the Brooklyn North Detective Bureau, said previous busts resulted in a drop in violent crime in neighborhoods where disrupted gangs operated.

Chell said the police department executes busts like the one on Tuesday about two or three times a year.

“We’ll throw a wide net, we’ll take a global view of all the violence and we’ll narrow it down and then we go for the worst,” Chell said. “We go for the trigger pullers, the kids, the gang members that are doing the shootings, and that’s what we did today.”

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