New York City police detectives will target gang leaders in a campaign against gun violence as the city deals with a rise in shootings that is more intense than any seen in the previous 20 years, the Wall Street Journal reports. Gun violence in New York has surged in 2020 to heights unseen in a decade. The city has recorded 1,412 shooting incidents in the first 11 months of 2020, a nearly 96 percent rise from 721 in the same period last year. The number of shooting victims in the city was 1,730 in the first 11 months of this year, more than double last year. Officials believe about half of this year’s shootings were linked to gang activity. Many conflicts that led to shootings were fueled by personal disputes or clashes over the illegal drug trade or control of gang turf.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said police would focus their efforts on leadership of local crews, with a strategy known as precision policing. Harrison said officers would redouble efforts to strengthen relationships in communities with high numbers of shootings. He said some residents have been less likely to participate in police investigations amid a rise in antipolice sentiment after George Floyd’s killing. Residents said the increase in shootings has left hard-hit neighborhoods in a state of fear. “Our children don’t want guns. Our children don’t want to be in gangs,” said NeQuan McLean, a small-business owner and leader of a local school board in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Mr. McLean’s 22-year-old nephew, Shyhiem McLean, was fatally shot on Oct. 22 in a bodega on the block where they both lived. Eric Cumberbatch of the city’s Office of Neighborhood Safety said the circumstances surrounding shootings are most often the result of altercations or personal disputes.