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Weather, Gangs and Guns to Blame for Uptick in May Shootings, Police Say

 There was an increase in shootings and murders in the month of May, police officials said Monday during a press conference at NYPD headquarters, June 1, 2015. 
May Crime Numbers
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CIVIC CENTER — Weather, gangs and guns are to blame for the spike in shootings and homicides in May, according to NYPD officials. 

Homicides were up 43 percent in May, with 30 murders last month through Sunday, compared to 21 last year, according to police records. Shootings were up 22 percent, with 127 incidents last month compared to 104 in May 2014.

“We are struggling with homicides and shootings,” NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said during a press conference at police headquarters. “As we expect when warm weather comes we see an increase in certain crimes.”

So far this year, homicides are up 20 percent, with 135 reported murders, compared to 113 during the same span last year. Shooting incidents are also up 9 percent — 439 shootings this year, compared to 403 in 2014, records show.

Last month was the fourth-hottest May ever recorded in New York City, with an average temperature of about 77 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

In addition to the weather, gang violence played a role in the crime increase, officials said.

About half of all of this year's shootings "are gang-related in some way, shape or form," NYPD Chief of Operations Dermot Shea said.

Some of the uptick in homicides was also driven by an increase in firearm violence, according to officials.

About 81 percent of homicides in May were linked to guns. That number is normally closer to 50 percent, according to Shea. 

“When we are talking about murders and shootings, we are talking about people’s lives. These aren’t just numbers,” O’Neill said. “And that is what our business is about — saving lives. We do not take this lightly.”

The 44th Precinct, covering Morris Heights in the South Bronx, saw one of the biggest jumps in violence, with eight additional shootings this past month compared to the same period last year.  

A 14-year-old boy on his way to school was shot in front of his home on Sheridan Avenue on May 22.

His older brother is a “main player” is the 280 Crew, sources said.

While shootings and homicides are up, officials note that overall crime is down, with 7 percent fewer major crimes reported this year compared to 2014.

Police officials added that while they would put more officers on the streets this summer for a second straight year, they still need help from the public in catching criminals.

“This is not just the NYPD, this is the whole city that has to be involved in this,” O’Neill said. “People throughout the city know who the bad guys are and we need help with that.”