(01/01/08) BROWNSVILLE ? Police were called to the scene of New York City?s first 2008 homicide just hours after the new year began Tuesday.

A 26-year-old man was discovered with a gunshot wound to his chest near Rockaway and Blake avenues, just outside the Brownsville Houses. Witnesses say they heard at least six shots ring out around 2 a.m. The victim later died at the hospital.

The shooting took place just a week after Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted historically low crime numbers for 2007. The city logged less than 500 homicides in 2007, but the numbers actually went up in North Brooklyn, an area that includes Brownsville.

As part of the city?s Operation Impact program, one-third of the police academy?s graduating class is now deployed in troubled Brooklyn areas.