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Gun Violence Leaving A Telling Impact On Communities Across New York City; Holistic Approach Called For To Solve The Problem

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - New numbers from the NYPD show overall crime was up 38.5% in January when compared to last year.

This comes as the mayor, governor, and even President Joe Biden vow to double down on efforts to address gun violence.

CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas talked to residents about the lingering impact in the communities.

NYPD officers are now regulars at the intersection of East 198th Street and Valentine Avenue in the Bronx, where a baby was struck by a stray bullet last month. At the corner deli, a Crimestoppers reward poster hung on the door. Across, the street, remnants of crime scene tape. It only begins to tell the story.

"The guns are ridiculous. But really, in the Bronx, we need more policing," said Bronx resident Bridgett Carter.

"In August, a gun was pointed to my face at the discount [store] on the corner," said Bronx resident Tania Cordero.

Last month alone, there were 100 shooting incidents across the city, with three dozen victims - the largest share - were in the Bronx. Shootings in January increased by more than 31% when compared to 2021.

"I understand what the police say, that it needs to be more policemen. No, it needs to be more undercover police," said Bronx resident Eusebio Villegas.

The controversial anti-crime units that use undercover officers are getting a makeover. Now known as neighborhood safety teams, they are being deployed to more than 30 precincts across the city, including in Mott Haven.

"You can have a police officer on every corner, but that doesn't address someone's opportunity to commit a crime, and also why they're committing a crime," said Rigaud Noel, executive director of New Settlement in the Bronx.

Noel says holistic prevention strategies have to come with more resources, like the programming New Settlement has established for teens, but the $250,000 state grant shared with two other organizations can only go so far.

"You look at the food insecurity, the housing insecurity. We just had the eviction moratorium expire on January 15th," Noel said. "You have double digits, close to one in ten people not working. All of those contributing factors really need to be addressed."

Factors Noel says carry the same weight as law enforcement in keeping communities safe.

Murder was the only category that was down when compared to last year.

The NYPD is focusing most of its efforts in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

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