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NYPD and ATF are partnering up to reduce gun violence in NYC, mayor says

The New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will form a partnership in an effort to reduce gun violence and stop the flow of illegal guns into New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

The program will allow ATF agents to be embedded directly within the NYPD, permit members of the NYPD working with the ATF’s gun-tracing team to have federal agent privileges, and will facilitate the sharing of intelligence information between the two agencies, de Blasio said.

Although every ATF field office includes a gun-tracing team, the newly-announced partnership in New York will have an “unprecedented level of support and access to intelligence” because of a unified command structure, said Stephen F. Gravatt, Special Agent for the ATF’s Office of Public and Governmental Affairs.

John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said the partnership will allow for a “seamless flow of information.”

The two agencies will work together to investigate the source of guns coming into New York City, identify traffickers, and enhance the gun arrests that the NYPD has been making, Miller said.

The “federal agent privileges” offered to NYPD working within the ATF’s gun-tracing team will include giving the NYPD the ability to operate in areas that local police may not typically have jurisdiction, according to John DeVito, special agent in charge of the ATF’s New York Field Division.

Miller added that the NYPD officers working with the ATF won’t “become federal agents,” and will remain NYPD officers, but the federal privileges offered to them will include the power to investigate federal gun violations and potentially put together cases they can bring to federal court, instead of just sticking to local, municipal matters.

De Blasio said the NYPD-ATF partnership will work to “get guns out of the city once and for all.”

“With the help of the federal government, we can do things we’ve never done before, and we will,” de Blasio said.

Shooting incidents in NYC have surged since last year, NYPD data shows

Shooting incidents in New York City increased by 73% last month when compared to the same time last year, according to the latest NYPD crime statistics report. May 2021 saw 173 reported shooting incidents compared with 100 in May 2020.

NYPD data shows that there have been 564 shooting incidents in the city so far in 2021, including a recent shooting in which a 10-year-old boy was killed just days before his birthday.

While shootings have increased, the NYPD says the number of gun arrests have also risen dramatically.

Last month, Commissioner Dermot Shea told CNN affiliate NY1 that the NYPD made more gun arrests in the first quarter of 2021 than they did in the first quarters of the last 20 years.

“Now we need those (arrests) to play themselves out in court system, we need consequences for those,” Shea said.

The recent rise in crime has become a focal issue in the city’s mayoral race, with primary elections scheduled for later this month.

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