IN the 1970s and 1980s, rising levels of violent crime had turned New York into a city of fear. Now the Big Apple’s residents are facing a return to those dark days as the number of people shot in 2020 so far surpasses 1,000.

What’s happening?

New York hit the undesirable marker just two thirds of the way through this year, with the 1,000th shooting take place just days ago, as this year's number of gun violence victims rockets.

The rate has nearly doubled?

Shootings in the city are nearly twice that of 2019 - up to the weekend, there have been 821 shooting incidents, with 1,000 victims, but last year saw 446 shootings, with 551 victims in all. On Saturday overnight into Sunday, police responded to a dozen shooting incidents and at least four people were killed.

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June was horrendous?

The violence seemed to crescendo when at least 19 people were injured in more than a dozen shootings city wide on June 20, with 28 shootings reported in 72 hours from June 22. On June 25, a seven-year-old girl was hit by a stray bullet in an East Harlem shooting and on June 28, 17 shootings were reported in just one day.

In July?

The city was rocked when a one-year-old baby boy was shot in the stomach at a family gathering after two gunmen opened fire outside a Brooklyn park.

What’s being done?

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea have promised to do all they can to prevent the city from sliding back into the violence of 40 and 50 years ago. The New York Police Department (NYPD) has launched an "End Gun Violence" plan that will see officers shifted from tourist areas - that are quieter due to the pandemic - to areas with high gun violence. Gun amnesties are planned and officers will aim for “more proactive engagement in communities”.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s?

Many parts of New York were considered ‘no-go areas’. Crime had risen dramatically - the number of murders in the city had more than doubled, from 681 in 1965 to 1,690 in 1975 - and crimes, ranging from assaults to car thefts, had more than doubled, while burglaries and rapes had more than tripled and robberies risen tenfold, from 8,904 to 77,940.

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What changed?

Theories abound to how the city got a grip on crime, including that the economic boom of the 1990s helped people prosper, but former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani also adopted a “zero tolerance" policy, where lower-level crimes were aggressively pursued. Misdemeanour arrests, therefore, rose 70% in New York in the 1990s and violent crime dropped 56%, compared to a 28% US-wide general drop. The number of police on the street also rose by 35%.

There’s some progress?

There were 41 shooting incidents last week down from the 50s and 60s being seen a month earlier. Commissioner Shea said: ”If you look at the last four weeks, we've been trending down, but still far too many, to be frank…It’s moving in the right direction, but it's going to take some time.”