The three victims were hospitalised in Manhattan, and their lives were not in danger, a NYPD spokesperson said.

Police officers are seen in Times Square on May 8, 2021 in New York City.
Police officers are seen in Times Square on May 8, 2021 in New York City. (AFP)

A shooting in New York's bustling Times Square has injured two women and a four-year-old girl, in an incident US authorities were still scrambling to understand, police said.

The incident took place on Saturday just before 5:00 pm local time (9:00 pm GMT), at the intersection of 7th Avenue and 44th Street, a NYPD spokesperson told AFP. 

The three victims were hospitalised in Manhattan, and their lives were not in danger, he added.   

No arrests have yet been made, and police said the "investigation is still ongoing," without giving further details. 

Times Square, one of New York's tourist hotspots before the pandemic, has changed since theatres all closed in March 2020. 

According to a recent report by the Times Square Alliance, the neighbourhood business association, the area recorded 25 violent crimes in the first quarter of 2021, up from 17 in the same period of 2020. 

At the end of March, a video of an assault on an older woman of Asian descent shocked the neighbourhood. 

A man with a criminal record, who lived in a hotel near Times Square that had become a reception centre for the homeless, was arrested and charged. 

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Neighbourhood theatres are set to start reopening on September 14, however, and the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, recently announced a major campaign to revive tourism from June.

Shootings in New York have sharply increased since the summer of 2020 and the protests against the police violence that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, official data show.

Crime in general was up 30 percent over the same period. 

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Source: AFP