In his 2014 inauguration speech, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged, using a Dickensian theme, to “take dead aim at the tale of two cities.” But he also recognized that “our city government’s first responsibility is to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
Nearly seven years later, economic inequality under Hizzoner hasn’t changed. But the unequal distribution of serious violent crimes has worsened. There remain two distinct New Yorks, and as crime ticks up, the difference between them is growing more pronounced.
Through Aug. 30, the city’s 290 murders and 1,004 shooting incidents represent year-to-date increases of 33.6 percent and 87 percent, respectively. Manhattan has seen 52 murders and 135 shootings this year. About half of those shootings took place in just three of the borough’s 22 precincts — all in Harlem.
In those precincts, killings are up more than 100 percent, year to date. By contrast, precincts covering the West Village, Upper East Side and Upper West Side have seen just two murders and three shootings combined.
In Brooklyn, where murders are up 72 percent — more than double the citywide increase of 33.6 percent — we see a similar disparity. Just four precincts — covering East Flatbush, Brownsville, East New York and Crown Heights — account for more than 57 percent of the borough’s 114 homicides and just under half of its 441 shooting incidents through Aug. 30. Meanwhile, the precincts serving Park Slope, Kensington, Brooklyn Heights and Greenpoint have seen a combined total of just three murders and 15 shootings.
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