Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

The city’s deadliest street violence has claimed at least 21 children so far this year – more than tripling the number in the same period in both 2019 and 2020, according to a Post analysis of NYPD data.

This year’s grim figure involves children between the ages of 10 and 17 who were killed by either cannons or knives between January and September 30th. By comparison, the NYPD reported that six children under the age of 18 were shot dead in the first nine months of 2020, while five in 2019 were killed in gun violence and stabbing, the figures show.

“I’m left with a hole in my heart that I do not know how to explain,” said Juliana Gopie-Sanon, whose 17-year-old son, Bryan Sanon, was hit by a stray bullet when he was fatally shot. Brooklyn Street on a Saturday morning in March.

“Those nights I think about how I will never see my son, I just break down,” the 49-year-old mother told The Post on Friday. “Innocent children are killed on the streets.”

Some of the young victims of the city’s bloodshed were caught in gang violence, the intended targets for crimes. Others were simply caught in crossfire, such as Sanon.

Bryan Sanon was shot dead in Canarsie earlier this year.
Bryan Sanon was shot dead in Canarsie earlier this year.
Michael Dalton

“October is coming [Bryan] would have been 18 years old and that is one of the hardest things to deal with right now, ”said his mother. “It’s really, really painful.”

Christopher Herrmann, a shooting and killing expert from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said: “It’s always easy to blame” the proliferation of weapons found on the streets for the violence.

But the COVID-19 pandemic, a reduction in programs aimed at keeping children safe, and initiatives such as bail also play a role.

New York Post coverage until October 2, 2021.
New York Post coverage until October 2, 2021.

“The pandemic leads to unemployment, leads to financial insecurity, leads to insecurity in the home, lack of food, all of this leads to mental stressors, and when we see mental stressors rise, you see violence rise,” Herrmann said.

He added that distance learning in the midst of the pandemic could also have given children more free time during the day to be on the street – and such a change in routine could affect behavior.

“Staying home from school or going to school is going to change the way they work, it will change the places they are and the times they do things,” he said.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, the former chairman of the city council’s police oversight committee, said the pandemic created a void in the lives of Big Apple children, which gangs noticed and exploited.

“I warned about this when the pandemic hit and we talked about the budget and we talked about cutting the program for summer jobs and parks down,” Donovan said. ‘The problem is that the gangs already got hold of those we lost a whole year.

Donovan Richards said gangs had been able to exploit younger children during the pandemic.
Donovan Richards said gangs had been able to exploit younger children during the pandemic.
Kevin C. Downs

“Someone has to fill the void for these children, and the gangs did … The gangs snatched these children.

“We are in a state of catching up, and we are in a state of emergency, quite frankly.”

Police sources also pointed to the 2017 “Raise the Age” law for having “encouraged” gangs to commit more bloodshed. The action requires that 16- and 17-year-olds accused of non-violent crimes be tried as juveniles and give judges the authority to send some violent crime cases to family court if there are mitigating circumstances.

“The gang members allow the younger people to shoot because there are minor consequences for them, especially if it is a first, second or third offense,” said a source about the law, which went into effect in October 2018 for 16-year-olds and in October 2019 for 17-year-olds.

“They say, ‘You traumatize a 16-year-old kid when you put them in jail with a grown man,’ but they’re out there doing adult things.”

A Bronx police officer argued that another problem is the NYPD’s hyperfocus on optics and its tendency to target elected officials who politicize crime fighting and disregard victims.

“The NYPD lost its way in what really matters to the public, making New Yorkers feel safe,” the source said.

“The NYPD wants better local police work, but when a police officer is filmed playing basketball in uniform with children, it is looked down upon and all police officers wait at the printer to see when the same officer is suspended for having too much fun at work. , “he said.

Police at the scene of a shooting in Bed-Stuy.
Police at the scene of a shooting in Bed-Stuy.
William C. Lopez / NYPOST

“The NYPD cares too much about what other people think and what the NYPD looks like rather than worrying about how the NYPD actually helps people.”

When asked for a comment, City Hall staffer Bill Neidhardt said gun arrests have increased 37 percent so far this year compared to 2020 and 30 percent compared to the 2019 figure.

“The death of a child is too many and a direct tragedy,” Neidhardt said.

“New York City is committed to getting firearms off the streets in record numbers and investing billions in communities, which is the most effective way to fight crime. We still have more work to do and will never give up. ”

But for the families who have lost their children in gun violence, it is too little too late.

“Do it better, just do it better,” said Antonio Turnage, 42, whose 16-year-old nephew, Jaden Turnage, was shot dead in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

“There are not enough resources, especially in low-income neighborhoods, so they are out on the streets joining gangs and shooters,” he said.

“We need more resources for these kids because they don’t seem to care about life, their lives or anyone’s lives,” Turnage said.

“We are losing our children out here. They are supposed to be the future. How can they be the future if they die? We do not bury the youth, we must not do it, that is not how it should work. ”

Additional reporting by Larry Celona, ​​Tamar Lapin and Nolan Hicks

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