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Criminal Justice Expert Says Police Intervention Only Part Of Solution To New York City's Gun Violence

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There have been 113 more shooting victims in New York City this year compared to 2020.

Gangs are the central focus for law enforcement, but experts say police intervention is only part of the solution, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.

Surveillance video captured a man with a gun drawn behind the counter of a corner store in Washington Heights on Saturday. The store employee cowered in terror before bullets started to fly.

That same night, brazen gunman fired down a sidewalk in Corona, Queens.

In these incidents, and so many others, innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire.

"I just thought that I was going to die," a 38-year-old woman who was shot in the foot in Queens told CBS2's Cory James in an exclusive interview.

Police reassigned more officers to problem areas as they say gangs and youth violence are the main cause of the surge in shootings.

"We're going to need more gang takedowns, more gun arrests, more cooperation with community," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Dr. Jeffrey Butts is the lead researcher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which was was commissioned by the city to assess the effectiveness of its anti-violence initiatives.

Butts said police intervention is only the first step and societal factors must also be addressed.

"People, if they live in a food desert, are going to have stress. Jobs, all that stuff that we take for granted in rich neighborhoods, you need it in all neighborhoods or you will have these problems," Butts said.

While the city has invested more in youth programs, Dr. Butts said there's an imbalance.

"We spend $11 billion on policing every year. That's with a 'B.' Billion... We're now feeling very ambitious because we're spending about $20 million on this community-based violence prevention," Butts said.

But the residents in these neighborhoods pay the highest price, a cost that's part of the vicious cycle.

No arrests have been made in the most recent shootings. But police say they are close to arresting known gang members linked to other shootings.

In the meantime, community groups are dispatching mobile trauma units to the affected areas to help the communities heal.

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