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Gun Violence Dips in Manhattan Despite Citywide Rise

By Sonja Sharp | March 22, 2012 1:40pm
Some parents say they're afraid to bring their kids to St. Nicholas Playground in Harlem after a brazen daylight shooting left three injured.
Some parents say they're afraid to bring their kids to St. Nicholas Playground in Harlem after a brazen daylight shooting left three injured.
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DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp

MANHATTAN — Looks like Manhattan dodged the bullet. 

The number of shootings borough-wide dropped slightly in 2012, despite a nearly 15 percent increase in gun violence citywide, DNAinfo has learned. 

As of March 18, there had been just one reported shooting south of Central Park.

Northern Manhattan saw 26 such incidents, also a slight decrease over the same period in 2011. But the news is cold comfort to neighbors around St. Nicholas Park, where a brazen daytime shooting outside a popular playground left three young men injured Monday afternoon.

"I’ve lived here all my life, and I’ve never seen something like this happen," said John Jones, 52, who was outside the park when the shots rang out Monday afternoon. "That guy that shot, he was making a statement."

While shootings may be scarcer in Manhattan than elsewhere in New York City, gun violence remains a persistent scourge in Harlem. Monday's attack echoed a shooting just outside a Morningside Park playground and another at a Harlem basketball court in June. 

As of Sunday, there had been two shootings in the 26th Precinct, which covers Morningside Heights and part of West Harlem, compared with just one in 2011. Monday's incident brings that total to three. 

"It scares me," said neighbor Marina, 26, an Italian immigrant who has spent three years in the neighborhood and brought her 7-month-old daughter Agatha to the playground for the first time Tuesday afternoon. "Especially coming from Italy, there’s not as many shootings as there are here."

Police have learned little from the victims in Monday's shooting, all young men between 23 and 30 with a history of prior arrests. All three were taken to Harlem Hospital, where two remained in stable condition Tuesday, police said. The third was treated and released.

Still, many residents said they weren’t deterred by the recent violence. Harlem ranked among Manhattan's safest neighborhoods according to DNAinfo's Crime & Safety Report released last year. 

"I’ve never felt threatened in this neighborhood," said Gina, 33, while her preschool class scampered around the low-slung jungle gym. "Harlem is new to me, but it seems safe — there’s a lot of families here.”

In lower Manhattan, only the 7th Precinct on the Lower East Side saw gunplay this year.

Uptown, the 32nd Precinct had the most shooting incidents in Manhattan: five, unchanged from last year.  The biggest increase was in the southern half of Washington Heights.  There, the 33rd Precinct recorded three shootings this year compared to none last year.

Citywide, the number of shooting incidents this year jumped to 234, up from 204 during the same period last year.