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Violent Memorial Day Weekend, NYPD Cuts, Cause Fears Of Bloody Summer In NYC

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Claudia Milan was shot in the face on Sunday while holding the hand of her two year-old son in the Bronx.

She joined an unfortunate tally of those killed during a remarkably bloody Memorial Day weekend in New York. From Friday morning to Monday night, eight people across the city were gunned down according to The New York Times, prompting some to wonder if the unofficial beginning of summer was also the beginning of a deadly crime wave.

New York City was off to a good start this year--with a 25% decrease in murders by February 23 as compared to the same date in 2010. Since then, however, the city's gotten back on track with last year's murder rate.

The New York Daily News reports that the eight people killed in seven shootings over the weekend helped bring the city's murder tally to 185 on Monday. Through May 29 of last year, police reported 186 murders.

While nationally there's been a %4.4 decrease in murders, New York has seen a %14 increase.

Many have been quick to blame recent cuts to the city's police force, which has seen more than 5,000 officers laid off since 2002, according to CBS News.

City Councilman Peter Vallone told the Daily News, "We're not going to have new police officers the rest of the year. Right now, it's clear to the population we do not have the beat cops and bike cops we used to have. And if it's clear to the population, it's clear to the bad guys, as well."

In Newark, New Jersey, where they recently laid off 167 police officers, the murder rate has jumped %71. And just last week a Newark police officer was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Some studies also show that violent crime tends to peak during the warm weather. The Wall Street Journal compiled city murder statistics from 2002 to 2009, finding that July was the highest month for slayings, with an average of 53.3 homicides. June came in second with an average of 53.0 homicides.

Chicago also experienced a bloody holiday weekend, with six dead and at least 21 wounded by gunfire from Monday night into Tuesday morning.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman, is less alarmed by the statistics, telling reporters "We see crime peaks and valleys throughout the year that tend to flatten over time."

And whatever the chances of a bloody summer, the city is still much better off than it was in 1990, when New York lost a staggering 2,245 people to murder, according to the Times.