For 2008, the 67th Precinct is on target to maintain the record low number of shootings recorded last year.
So far, this year, through May 23rd, the precinct in East Flatbush has had 20 shooting incidents. In all of 2007, there were 60 shooting incidents across the precinct.
Inspector William Aubry said that the precinct is “pretty much on pace” to match its own best record, which itself represented a significant drop in the number of shooting incidents from 2006, the year he took over at the helm, when, Aubry recalled, there were 93 people shot.
“Homicides are down,” he noted during a phone interview. “We are continuing to work hard and we are holding our own.”
Nevertheless, said Aubry, responding at the May meeting of Community Board 17 to a question about a shooting a couple of weeks ago at a local club, “One shooting is too many.”
As board member Wellington Sharpe pointed out during the meeting, which was held at the First United Church of Jesus Christ, 590 Utica Avenue, there has been a recent “rash of shootings” at local nightclubs.
“What’s being done to correct that?” Sharpe wanted to know. “What is it going to take to protect the community?”
“There have been a few shootings at various clubs within the 67th Precinct,” said Aubry. To combat that, he went on, “We try to work along with the (club) owners. We’re there. We’re providing a police presence.”
In addition, said Aubry, “Every time there’s a shooting, we evaluate the situation, whether it would be worthwhile to put the Skywatch there. Some of the locations, we have put it and it has worked.”
Alcohol and guns make a bad combination, Aubry stressed. “When you have alcohol combined with late-at-night activities,” he explained, “there’s the potential for violence. Then when there’s a gun in the hand or there’s a gun in the car, there’s likely to be a shooting.
“We have made an arrest on some of the shootings,” Aubry went on. “Some of them go back to gang activity, that there’s a party in a club and it’s sponsored by people who could be associated with gangs, and gang members go there and a fight ensues. But, we are on top of it,” Aubry assured the group.
Too often, noted Burchell Morris, the director of Community Development of Block Associations, the shootings involve young black males.
“The kids committing the crimes are our kids,” said Morris, who spoke after Aubry had finished. “These kids are begging for our attention, they’re begging for us to talk to them. I’m crying everyday for our kids.”
Morris pleaded with board members and community residents to do something to help stem the tide of violence. He announced, “I have gone to 11 funerals this year. I don’t want to go to any more. I am asking everyone to look into their hearts. If you don’t speak to your kids, they are going to keep committing these crimes. I am asking everyone to please stand up. If you see a kid doing something, please say something. We have to find a way to stop kids from killing each other.”