NYPD: Murders surge for second week in a row as lockdown continues
“People have been on good behavior, but everyone in law enforcement has to worry about the long game"
New York Daily News
NEW YORK CITY — Murders have surged in New York City for the second straight week in spite of the coronavirus lockdown — pushing the 2020 homicide total past the number of killings in the same period last year.
The NYPD on Monday reported 10 homicides last week, compared to five in the same week in 2019. There were 11 murders the week before that compared to four in the same time period last year.
The spike reverses a trend seen in the first three months of the year. At the end of March, the number of murders was down 10% compared to the first quarter of 2019. As of Monday, there were 92 murders year-to-date — up nearly 6% from 87 murders a year ago.
Eugene O’Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the lockdown is likely acting as a pressure cooker, amplifying anger and making criminals more likely to act out violently.
"You would think people at this point would be focused solely on self-preservation. You would think bad guys, the very last place they want to go is to jail, but the impulse to settle the score is too great,” O’Donnell said. “There’s a lot of fear and angst at this point. ... It’s a super-heated environment, the whole city at this point.
“We’re not alone in this,” O’Donnell said, pointing to spikes in violence in Chicago, which earlier this month saw 21 shootings, six of them fatal, over the course of a single weekday.
“The NYPD is very concerned over the slight uptick in the number homicides and remains committed to keeping all New Yorkers safe,” Sgt. Mary O’Donnell, an NYPD spokeswoman, said Monday. “While these numbers are troubling, we have made arrests in 11 of these cases and have strong investigative leads into others.”
Though police have worried about a potential spike in domestic violence incidents as people are forced to remain indoors more, only five of the 29 killings reported since March 16 have been definitively linked to domestic violence including a slaying Sunday morning in East Harlem, where a man is accused of killing his live-in girlfriend despite an order of protection, and a gruesome homicide last week where a father was killed and dismembered by his emotionally disturbed son in Brooklyn.
Several other killings stemmed from street fights, romantic rivalries and drug disputes.
Still, Eugene O’Donnell said the murder numbers remain relatively low compared to years and decades past.
“People have been on remarkably good behavior, but everyone in law enforcement has to worry about the long game,” he said.
Overall, the city has seen double-digit drops in robberies and felony assaults since the lockdown began, as well as a spike in burglaries and car thefts.