Gun violence and hate crimes have been on the rise in New York City as the five boroughs have finally begun to quell the spread of COVID-19 and start to reopen, according to the latest New York City Police Department statistics.
According to the NYPD, hate crime against Asians increased by 335% compared to last May. So far this year, there have been 87 reports of anti-Asian cases and last year there were 20. Those numbers may actually be higher due to unreported incidents or incidents that weren't immediately classified as bias.
Overall, bias crimes nearly doubled over the past year. The NYPD reported a 188% increase in bias crimes involving sexual orientation and an 80% increase in anti-Black hate crimes. Antisemitism saw a 37% increase.
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With the return of 24/7 subway services and other easing of pandemic restrictions in recent weeks, assaults and shootings also increased compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, the number of murders (37) stayed the same and there was a decrease in burglaries, according to the statistics released Thursday.
Felony assaults saw a 20.5% increase and shooting incidents increased to 173 from 100 in May 2020.
June has just begun and there have already been a few attacks on the subway, police said. Two women in their 20's were slashed by a man with a knife early Friday morning at the 2 train platform of the 96th Street station. Police say no words were exchanged between the first victim and her attacker, who injured the second woman after she tried to help the first. It was the fourth subway slashing reported in just two days.
The attacker was later arrested, thanks to the help of a good samaritan, police confirmed.
On Thursday, a 32-year-old man was knifed following a verbal dispute at the Central Park North Station. As the knife-wielding suspect fled, he slashed another victim before he disappeared.
Police say they made another arrest Wednesday after the man allegedly stabbed a 27-year-old straphanger in the chest at Queensbridge Avenue Station while saying "I'm going to f---ing kill you." That victim is expected to survive and charges against 34-year-old Ramel Bain is pending, according to the NYPD.
The department's data shows that transit crimes have nearly doubled, from 87 to 168, compared to the same time last year when the city was hit hard by the coronavirus.
When asked Thursday to address the concerns of crimes as New Yorkers get back to their pre-pandemic routine, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it's understandable that people are worried.
"I think it's important to say when hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, when schools were closed, houses of worship were closed, life ground to a halt – that disrupted everything. We are still, not shockingly, dealing with the impact of that," the mayor told reporters at his daily news briefing.
"But we will come out of this. Just like we're showing across the board in this city, we're coming back, our jobs are coming back. Our schools are coming back. The life of the city is coming back. We will fight back crime as well. I think it's understandable that people are concerned. They want to talk about it," he added.