QUEENS — The number of shootings in the 103rd Precinct dropped to just two over the summer — the fewest during that time period since the NYPD started keeping track in 1963, local police officials said.
“This year, since July 4th, we had two shootings, which is unbelievable,” Inspector John Cappelmann, commanding officer of the 103rd Precinct, said at a community council meeting Tuesday night.
Cappelmann said that the precinct — which covers Jamaica and Hollis — usually saw about 15 to 20 shootings each summer. The two shootings happened between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, though no other shootings have been recorded since.
“We’ve never had that few shootings in this precinct in recorded history, as far as when we kept crime statistics,” he said. “This summer was by far the safest.”
So far this year, there have been 12 shooting incidents in the precinct in 2017, compared to 21 during the same period last year, according to statistics provided by the NYPD.
Police officials believe that both shootings that took place this summer were drug-related.
The first incident occurred on Aug. 8 at Sutphin Boulevard and Yates Road, police said. A 32-year-old man, a resident of Manhattan with ties to the area, was shot in the stomach following a physical fight. The victim has since been released from the hospital but is not cooperating with investigators, officials said.
The second shooting happened on Aug. 18 on 164th Street, between South Road and 107th Avenue. Terrence Payne, 21, who was disguised as a woman and carried a gun himself, got shot as he was most likely planning to rob or shoot a drug dealer frequenting the area, police said. He got into a physical fight with a man who was possibly acquainted with the person Payne was trying to ambush. He then got shot by another person, who fired about seven rounds at Payne, hitting him in the left thigh, police said.
Payne, a parolee who had gotten out of prison on June 15, died two days later, authorities said.
Both corners where the incidents took place are known to be drug-prone, Cappelmann said.
In order to prevent retaliation, the precinct assigned additional officers to monitor both areas “until further notice” and light towers have also been placed at the Aug. 18 shooting location, he added.
Cappelmann also said Tuesday that the number of robberies in the precinct decreased dramatically — by 51.5 percent — to 16 in the last 28-day period, down from 33 during the same period last year.
Overall crime in the precinct went down about 9 percent this year, compared to the same period last year, although the precinct has noticed an increase in grand larcenies, such as thefts of valuables from cars, he said.
Cappelmann attributed the recent decrease in the number of shootings and robberies to the community policing program, introduced in the precinct about a year ago, which assigns officers to specific sectors of the neighborhood.
"A lot of our officers in the 103rd Precinct are a lot more plugged in into what’s going on," Cappelmann said.
He also said that in June and July officers arrested 14 people in connection with several illegal handguns that the precinct was able to recover.