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NYPD under mounting pressure to curb gun violence after deadly stray bullet shootings

NYPD data shows increase in crime 02:48

NEW YORK -- The NYPD released new crime statistics Wednesday, which confirmed an increase in gun violence, including the recent stray bullet shootings of a 61-year-old grandmother in the Bronx and a 12-year-old boy in Brooklyn. 

NYPD Crime Stoppers are looking for leads in the fatal shooting of 61-year-old Juana Perdomo Soriano. Police say she was struck by a stray bullet while two groups of men were arguing Monday night on East 188th Street off the Grand Concourse.

"One member of the intended target, he dons a backpack and he places what appears to be a firearm in the backpack. A member of the second group pulls out a firearm, firing five times, a 9mm handgun," NYPD Chief James Essig said.

Essig added they have a "very strong person of interest" in the case.

Juana Esperanza Soriano De-Perdomo was shot dead on April 4, 2022. Family handout

Soriano's death comes less than a week after 12-year-old Kade Lewin was fatally struck by a stray bullet in Brooklyn, and just days before that, a 3-year-old was shot in the shoulder while leaving day care but survived.

Police say shooting incidents increased 16.2% in March year-over-year. That's part of a 36.5% overall increase in "index crime" - murder, robbery, rape, assault, burglary, grand larceny, and stolen cars.

"During COVID, the courts were kind of slowed down, so there weren't as many grand juries being seated. We do have people that are walking around that have open cases," Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

"When I look at the most violent blocks in New York City with shooting incidents and I overlay it with quality-of-life-type complaints, there's a correlation," one NYPD official said.

The NYPD says officers made 410 gun arrests in March, and 1,207 since the start of the year. That's the highest number of quarterly gun arrests since early 2021, the NYPD said. 

Transit crimes have also increased more than 50%.

"People are concerned, and we completely understand that. We are deploying additional resources and really trying to get these people off the street," Sewell said.

The NYPD says it will focus more on 311 complaints after finding it's common hundreds of calls for things like noise complaints have been filed on blocks where several shootings have happened this year. Neighborhood safety teams launched in April are going to address quality of life offenses, too.

The sentiment comes after a new poll from government affairs consulting firm Fontas Advisors and Core Decision Analytics finds in Mayor Eric Adams' first 100 days in office, 54% say the city is going in the wrong direction while 46% say it's going in the right direction.

Crime is the main driver of concern among young voters with 25% strongly agreeing their family would have a better future if they left New York City permanently. Out of multiple categories like inflation, homelessness and education -- 41% say crime is the most important issue to living in New York City.

At a press conference on economic development Wednesday, Mayor Adams said in response, "This is an Arnold Schwarzenegger moment. 'They'll be back.'"

The NYPD did announce homicides are down almost 16%, and they've made almost 30% more arrests than this time last year.

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.  

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