By Stephen Witt
In the 67th Precinct, where the felony crime statistics are traditionally among the highest in the city, 2007 may be remembered as the year that turned a corner. The precinct’s commanding officer reported to the 67th Precinct Community Council last week that murder and other major crime indicators have plunged to their lowest numbers on recent record. “It’s been a phenomenal year. It’s been a historic year. We came into 2007 with the least amount of homicides ever in the history of the 67th Precinct,” said Deputy Inspector William Aubry, commanding officer of the precinct. Aubry said he checked back into the official crime tracing records of the Police Department and found the old record was 19 murders, set last year. “We’ve had 16 or 17 at this point in the year,” he said. Aubry said there have been 59 people shot in the precinct thus far this year – also a record. The previous record was in 1997 when there were 67 incidents people shot, he said. Aubry said it is hard to think back to 1993 when there were 221 people shot in the precinct. Last year there were 93 such shooting incidents, he said. “At this last time I stood here and promised my number one priority was to reduce the number of people being shot. I couldn’t imagine how 93 people could be shot in one precinct in New York City and that was my goal,” said Aubry. Aubry attributed the reduction to the hard work of the 225 police assigned to the precinct along with the community working with the cops. At the same time the precinct had the highest number of gun arrests –239, said Aubry. “I always said if you take one gun off the street, that’s one less person shot,” he said. Aubry also noted the courage it takes for a police officer to stop a perpetrator if they believe they have a gun on them. “That police officer is more nervous and more frightened then the person they’re stopping, because they know they got a radio call of a male with a gun and there’s a description and they know they’re going into a situation,” said Aubry. Aubry also praised the respectful way cops have taken the guns off the street, which is reflected in the 35 percent reduction of civilian complaints within the confines of the precinct. With the year about to end, the 67th Precinct is down by more than eight percent in 2007 as compared to 2006 in major felony crime, according to police statistics. The biggest drop was in rape, which fell slightly more than 22 percent. There have been 21 reported rapes in 2007 as compared to 27 at this time in 2006. Robbery also dropped in double digits – about 19 percent – with 388 reported robberies in 2007 as compared to 480 in 2006. Reported burglaries dropped a little more than nine percent with 449 this year as compared to 495 last year; while felony assaults fell five percent with 411 such incidents in 2007 as compared to 433 last year. Dropping marginally were grand larceny and auto theft. While Aubry was proud of the numbers, he said the precinct will work hard in continuing to reduce crime in 2008. “Fifty-nine shootings is 59 too many,” he said.