BRENTWOOD - Police are reporting an alarming spike in gun violence on the streets of Suffolk County.

While crime rates have decreased overall, Suffolk police say incidents involving people killed or wounded by gunfire rose 21 percent between January and November of this year, compared to the same period last year.

According to Deputy Inspector Thaddeus Nieves, drugs and gang activity are mostly to blame for the rise. "They get into some kind of altercation that escalates to the point where someone is injured with a weapon," Nieves says. "It's not random acts of violence."

Still, many find the statistics troubling, including Suffolk Legislator John Kennedy. Kennedy says the county needs more police out on the streets, because he says the number of patrol officers is down significantly.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's office disputes Kennedy's statement. The office says that county residents are safer than ever and that violent crimes are down.