Shootings and murders are down across NYC, but Bronxites are grappling with a rash of teen gun violence

While the city’s numbers reflect a monthly downtick in gun violence, Bronx residents say that high-profile incidents involving teenage victims and assailants is a worrying trend.
File photo

The NYPD reported a continued decline in shootings and murders in New York City in the first month of 2023, a 20% drop in both crime categories that had begun in tail end of 2022. But the Bronx, overall, saw a 5% rise in crime, with a jump in felony assaults (+17%), grand larceny and robbery, which both rose by 9%, according to police data.

Some neighborhoods like Fordham Road are hoping a newly installed security patrol can drive down retail theft in the busy shopping corridor and the 46th Precinct, which reported a 12% drop in crime with robberies down 15% for the month.

In the South Bronx’s 41st Precinct, which saw a 42% overall rise in crime — the highest in the borough through January — reported a rise in each of NYPD’s seven major felony categories. From Jan. 23 to Jan. 27, five grand larcenies occurred near the Sheridan Expressway in a a stretch from Garrison Avenue to Aldus Street.

Nearby residents like Dennis Vargas told the Bronx Times that he believes people will “jack cars” and steal from bypassers due to the proximity to the highway.

In the South Bronx’s 44th Precinct, which reported a 15% rise in crime, a high-profile officer-involved shooting occurred, the NYPD says, in response to an assault of a 63-year-old woman by a 49-year-old-man.

At East 153rd Street and Concourse Village West around 2 a.m. on Sunday four responding officers opened fire on the man. The New York State attorney general will now conduct a report of the incident, as required by state law.

While the city’s number of shootings reflect a monthly downtick in gun violence, Bronx residents say that high-profile incidents involving teenage victims and assailants — highlighted by the shooting death of 15-year-old Josue Lopez-Ortega in front of a South Bronx PAL facility and the 14-year-old who opened fire on a crowded MTA bus in Soundview — is a worrying trend for the borough’s youngest generation.

“These are kids. Kids who should be enjoying their young lives at school, with friends, and not getting wrapped up in these petty beefs that either lead them in the dirt or in jail,” said Natasha Williams, a mother of three in Mott Haven. “It makes me think of my own kids who are still young.”

In New York City alone, nearly 150 people under 18 were shot and 16 killed in 2022, according to NYPD data. The Gun Violence Archive reports there were more than 1,350 teens killed in shootings across the U.S. last year.

One 16-year-old teen, Andrew, who requested his last name be withheld, says that in his South Bronx neighborhood, teens are dealing with a myriad of stressors, including neighborhood disputes and, often, issues with those who are gang-affiliated.

“People got scores to settle and I know I’ve got mine to square away,” said the 16-year-old. “I don’t think it’s anything new around here. My dad had his beefs, so did my brothers, and I got mine and you hope it doesn’t get too violent, but sometimes it does.”

While not chronicled by the NYPD, the borough is also battling a widespread prevalence of apartment and housing fires.

One fire on 1211 Evergreen Ave. in Soundview on Jan. 29. was an intentional act. Over the weekend, cops arrested a 15-year-old girl on multiple charges including murder, assault, arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief for a fire that killed one person — 27-year-old Abdoukarim Sakolly — and injured at least two others.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes