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NYPD top brass promise to 'intensify' boots on the ground to combat 64% surge in gun crime

NYPD leaders have promised to put more boots on the ground in New York City amid a devastating crime surge that's seen shootings spike by 64 percent.   

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and Chief of Department Rodney Harrison appeared alongside Mayor Bill De Blasio at a press briefing on Wednesday to offer their solutions to stem the tide of violence in the city a day after former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton warned that New Yorkers are in for a 'very long, dangerous summer'. 

Addressing the mayoral briefing for the first time since mid-March, Shea stressed the NYPD's goal of cracking down on 'thousands' of fraudulent license plates that he said were at the root of many recent crimes - including the rise in shootings.

It came after the NYPD released a string of videos of recent shootings and asked for the public's help in tracking down the suspected gunmen.   

According to NYPD data, there have been 634 shooting incidents and 721 victims over the past year to date, spiking 64 percent and 61 percent, respectively, from the 386 incidents and 447 victims over the previous year. 

Murder has also gone up 13 percent with 194 cases over the past year to date as compared to 171 last year. 

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea (left) and Chief of Department Rodney Harrison (right) appeared alongside Mayor Bill De Blasio at a press briefing on Wednesday to offer their solutions to stem the tide of violence in the city

A man was caught on surveillance video after firing two shots at two unidentified people, outside M&Z Deli on April 22

An unidentified man fired a gun multiple times in front of 1140 Burke Avenue, as seen in surveillance footage taken on May 4

A man was seen firing multiple rounds from a handgun in a shoot off with another man, not pictured, on May 23 in front of 201 Continental Place

A man fired a gun into a vestibule at 2055 Anthony Avenue on May 18, before hoping on a scooter and fleeing the scene

Shea said that he will only consider the department successful in its mission to crack down on fraudulent license plates if there are no shootings this summer. 

'Some may look at that and say that's unrealistic, but I assure you that in this agency – from every cop on the street to civilian members to myself and everyone in between – day and night, all through the day, thinks about how to keep people safe,' he said.

Harrison said that fake plates have been connected to 33 shootings and 60 other incidents where shots were fired. 'Just this week we had a shooting in Southeast Queens where the individuals were in a car with a fraudulent plate,' Shea added.

Harrison called the increase in fake plates a 'by-product' of pandemic lockdowns because criminals could exploit the fact that the Department of Motor Vehicles was inundated with guests and operating under limited hours.

To approach this, the NYPD plans to scan online marketplaces to spot fake plates and cops have been trained to tell the differences between real license plates.

Mayor de Blasio called the reasons for the uptick in crimes 'a perfect storm of negative factors' that is playing out in cities across the country.

'We will turn it around,' he said. 'I think it is a mistake to say here is our exact metrical pattern. What I can tell you is gun arrests have been strong, the cooperation with the community is improving all the time, the investments in the community are making an impact, the courts are coming back, the economy is coming back. 

'I'm very confident about where we're going, but I still think it's gonna take time to know exactly how it's gonna play out.'

This chart shows how serious crimes - including felony assaults and murders - have soared in NYC over the last 12 months 

NYPD data showed shootings and murders in the Big Apple have increased by almost 70 percent and 12 percent, respectively, compared to 2020 

'Unlike the last crime epidemic that took decades to build up to the early '90s, this one has occurred, literally, overnight,' Bratton said. 'It's like the virus, it's literally, out of nowhere, and so solutions are not immediately apparent.'

One of the most recent efforts of the NYPD to curb the violence is through a partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which the mayor announced on June 8. 

Bill Bratton, former NYC police commissioner under mayors Rudy Giuliani and Bill de Blasio, on Monday warned New Yorkers are in for a 'very, long dangerous summer'

Through the partnership, both groups will work together to increase the flow of information regarding guns used in violent crimes and the Crime Gun Intelligence Center will provide evidence-based technology to provide law enforcement officials to develop and evolve violent gun reduction strategies.

'Everyone agrees the number one issue is guns, getting the guns off our streets, and we all know that the proliferation of guns during the pandemic was unprecedented and troubling,' the mayor said. 

'Therefore, we have to double down on getting guns off our streets.'

The news also comes as the New York State Senate is moving a package of eight bills aimed at limiting the amount of illegal guns on the street. 

One of which is named the Gun Industry Liability Law, which will tighten regulations on the sale, manufacturing and marketing of guns.

Though some have been taking matters into their own hands, as seen in the revival of the Guardian Angels, a volunteer crime-fighting organization known by their bright red berets. 

The Guardian Angels have stepped up patrols in Manhattan's Chinatown last month, following a brutal attack on an Asian woman that took place in broad daylight.

'People can't even go out to have a little lunch in New York City without being afraid that someone is going to harm them,' Guardian Angel Benjamin 'E.Q.' Garcia told DailyMail.com during his daily patrol of the area.

Garcia has been volunteering with the Guardian Angels for 35 years and says it feels as if New York City is returning to the 1980s and 1990s when shootings, murders and muggings were rampant. 

'If this continues the way it's going, this could be one of the worst summers on record,' Garcia predicted. 

The Guardian Angels have stepped up patrols in Manhattan's Chinatown following a brutal attack on an Asian woman that took place in broad daylight

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