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NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell vowed Thursday to continue making strides against gun violence as the city marked its 10th consecutive week of declines in shootings.
The number of shootings in the city began to fall in late April, Sewell said, crediting the drop in violence to her department’s anti-gun initiatives. Shootings in the city began spiraling out of control during the pandemic.
“We have taken over 3,000 guns off the street so far this year,” Sewell said on Fox 5′s Good Day New York. “Our arrests are at a 28-year high, and we are focused on deterrence and prevention.”
As of Sunday, the city has seen 592 shootings this year compared with 669 by this time last year, an 11% decline. The number of murders in the city is also down, from 218 by this last year to 189 so far this year — a 13% drop.
Sewell vowed to keep driving the numbers down.
“This is not a trend,” Sewell said. “We are focusing all of our resources on gun violence and being able to keep the city safer every day.”
Sewell made the comments hours before the Supreme Court struck down New York’s century-old concealed-carry handgun law, rules seen as crucial by local officials in keeping pistols from further proliferating on the streets.
“When we open the universe of carry permits it will bring more guns to the city of New York — to the streets of New York City — and that should concern us all,” Sewell said later in the day at a City Hall press conference after the court’s decision was announced.
Overall major crime, including robberies, assault and car thefts, have increased this year, with cops seeing a nearly 40% spike in robberies compared with last year, statistics show.
Thousands of officers have been deployed into the city’s subway system, Sewell said, acknowledging that the department backpedaled on its plans to do solo patrols on trains and in stations after a cop on solo patrol was assaulted by a homeless man at a Brooklyn train station Tuesday.
“The plan was always meant to be flexible,” Sewell said of the solo patrol initiative, saying that now cops will be in constant communication and remain in eyesight of each other, even if they are at opposite ends of a station.
“We wanted to separate officers to create that omnipresence, but we wanted to readjust that plan as needed to make sure the cops are seeing each other, have that line of sight so they can protect the public while protecting each other.”
Sewell also hailed the MTA’s plan to put cameras on subway cars. “I welcome any technology that can help our officers apprehend offenders,” she said.
Six months into her new job, Sewell said she hasn’t taken her foot off the gas — but that her passion for cooking helps her deal with the pressure that comes with being New York City’s top cop.
“I like to cook,” Sewell said. “And it’s not a matter of me boiling a hot dog. I actually like to cook.”
“I do everything. I do my mise en place. I make sure I have all of my ingredients. I watch some things on television. I make sure I have my knives sharpened,” she added. “I don’t fool around. That’s a big deal to me.”