Just five hours after the ball dropped in Times Square, a masked shooter in East New York pulled out a gun and blasted 29-year-old Tyleek White as he stood in the hallway of the Stanley Avenue Pink Houses.
It was the city’s first murder of 2019, the end of an unprecedented four-month streak without a single homicide in the notoriously bloody 75th Precinct.
And the beginning of an alarming uptick in killings across the city.
The 2019 citywide body count is up to 55, a 30-percent increase from the same period in 2018, when the NYPD recorded 289 murders, the fewest in 70 years.
Cops have yet to determine what prompted 23 of the slayings, and they’ve filed charges in just 17 of the cases, according to police stats and department statements reviewed by The Post.
The NYPD notes that seven of the deaths occurred before 2019, but were classified as murders after Jan. 1. It’s unlcear if any of those cases led to arrests.
White’s killer, for example, is still at large.
“I think we are looking at a new troubling trend,” warned John Jay College professor Joe Giacalone, who has observed NYC homicides drop 677 percent in the last 38 years from the bloody peak of 2,245 murders in 1990.
“The NYPD has to get their hands around exactly what is going on, because if this is a drug or gang war — these are the things you need to worry about as the weather warms up.”
Added the former NYPD sergeant: “It’s unusual in the cold weather you would have such a spike. It makes you scratch your head. If we are having a spike in January and February, oh boy.”
According to cops, 15 of the homicides this year were gang-related, 12 were domestic incidents, and five involved drug deals.
Victims included a cop, a pregnant woman, a cab driver, two elderly women, and five teens. They ranged in age from 14 to 75.
Twenty-five of the deaths were caused by guns, 13 involved a stabbing or slashing, and four were from bludgeoning.
Bystanders caught in crossfire included the little girl who ran as bullets whizzed past her on a Bronx sidewalk recently.
“[These] are the things that keep police chiefs up at night,” Giacalone said.
He said “progressive” policies, like the state’s new Raise the Age law that ends automatic prosecution of 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, and the Department of Education’s lax punishment policies, embolden young gangsters.
“You’ve created this perfect policy storm for things to get out of control quickly,” he said.
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