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Bratton On Gang Members: 'They're Very Stupid People'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As crime numbers for the year are tallied, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said gang violence remains a "pernicious problem" in the city.

Of the 324 homicides recording through Dec. 6 in New York City, gang members were responsible for 130, or about 40 percent.

"One of the problems with the gangs is their violence is so senseless," Bratton said during an exclusive interview with 1010 WINS on Monday morning. "You have these characters that have no values in their life, no structure. They're killing each other over the stupidest things, and they're very stupid people is basically what it comes down to.

"They're deviants. They have no moral compass, are coming from families who oftentimes don't have any guidance that they can give," Bratton added.

The number of killings by gangs or crews is expected to end the year higher than 2014. Bratton said the numbers aren't surprising because although the percentage is up, crime numbers are actually down.

"We have less crime, so gangs, which have always been a pernicious influence in this city, are now accounting for a larger percentage of the much lower crime," Bratton said. "When I first came to New York in 1990, 2,243 murders. This year, we'll have around 350. So with the smaller numbers, there's more of a concentration."

Many of the gang-related crimes are concentrated in and around housing developments.

"Housing developments have been unfortunately a persistent problem in the city," Bratton said.

The police department has deployed additional resources to those areas and is also working with the Housing Department as well as task forces formed by the mayor to address the issue.

"It's very much connected to what we're trying to do with neighborhood policing because we need to bring our police closer to neighborhood residents, neighborhood leaders. We need that information source," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, including WCBS 880's Rich Lamb, on Monday.

De Blasio noted that last week police arrested 48 alleged members of two gangs in the Bronx. Those gangs are suspected in three murders and five attempted murders, the mayor said.

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