Although crime rates in major cities fell in the early months of the pandemic, things are heating up again as temperatures rise. Both violent crime and property crime have exploded in New York City over the last month. Nowhere seems to be safe, not even the ritzy Upper East Side.
On the Sunday after Independence Day, nine people died from gunshot wounds in New York. Every borough other than Queens saw at least one victim. A 20-year-old man who was defending his mother was shot in the chest. Two more young men died before sunrise. And another six lives would be ended too soon that evening.
Perhaps the most tragic is the young father who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting while holding hands with this 6-year-old daughter.
All told, there were 64 shootings that weekend in the city. The New York Times describes the situation as “a wave of summertime violence that has given renewed urgency to a gun violence crisis that had been overshadowed this year by the coronavirus pandemic and by unrest over police racism and brutality.”
There were 181 homicides in the city by the end of June. However, New York is not alone in the rising tide of gun violence. Chicago, although it has just a third of the population of New York, was rocked by 336 murders.
The NYPD’s 19th precinct reported earlier this week that robberies are on the rise in the Upper East Side. The precinct’s social media representative tweeted “We’re experiencing a significant uptick in robberies (27) in last 28-days (286% increase compared to 2019)”
Five of the robberies were at gunpoint, bringing the total to 14 so far this year. That’s 10 more than the total for 2019, and we’re just past the halfway point of the year.
The precinct reports that a group of four armed criminals conducted three of the robberies in the span of an hour. They approached victims who were walking in the area between 9:30 p.m. and 10:20 p.m., stealing wallets and cell phones.
Thankfully, no one was harmed. Police eventually arrested three teens ranging from 16 to 17 in connection with the robberies.
The Upper East Side is one of the wealthiest areas of Manhattan. Billionaires and hedge fund managers make their homes there, and it’s generally considered to be one of the safer areas of the city. If pedestrians are being robbed on the streets, it could have a serious impact on whether the ultra-rich return after fleeing to the Hamptons during the pandemic.