Along with the mass killers and rifle-toting terrorists who are driving the nation’s gun debate are New York’s own gangbangers, who are behind the triggers of nearly half the city’s shootings, officials said.
And when gunplay across the five boroughs turns deadly, gang members are quite often responsible, accounting for 130, or 40%, of the city’s murders this year, police said.
It’s not just the traditional beefs over drugs or money, cops said. Crews are calling each other out over the smallest of slights or — worse yet — the belief that shooting someone will turn a boy into a man.
“It’s a fearsome reality: violence for its own sake,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the Daily News. “The gun has come to define manhood for these young men, and the willingness to use it has become a rite of passage.”
Killings by gangs or crews — smaller groups of young men who claim one or two blocks as their turf — are expected to be slightly higher this year than in 2014, although cops were still tallying the numbers, police sources said.
As of Dec. 6, the 324 murders in the city represented a 5.5% increase over the 307 homicides committed by the same date last year. The number of shootings as of Dec. 6 was 1,061, a 3.2% decrease from the 1,296 committed in the same time frame in 2014. Overall serious crime is down 2.4% citywide.
The News obtained data from the NYPD’s Gang and Juvenile Justice divisions and used it to create maps showing where gangs and crews operate in the city. There are about 375 citywide, mostly clustered around housing projects.
Map is here.