City leaders, police work together to make Hartford streets safe - WFSB 3 Connecticut

City leaders, police work together to make Hartford streets safer

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City leaders and police continue to look for ways to make Hartford streets safer (WFSB) City leaders and police continue to look for ways to make Hartford streets safer (WFSB)
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

City officials in Hartford are trying to find a way to make sure no at-risk teen falls through the cracks ever again.

A meeting with Hartford police and the city’s mayor was held on Tuesday evening. It’s an effort to work together to make the city streets safer.

The meeting was being held at the YMCA on Albany Avenue, where leaders often reach out to at-risk youths.

They confirm that they were active with a teen accused of killing a peer a few weeks ago in Hartford.

When Keon Huff Jr. was 4 years old, police said he witnessed an adult get arrested on drug charges. When he was 11, he was questioned as a suspect in an assault. At 15 years old, he was shot and killed.

“In this case here, you hate to use the term ‘slipped through the cracks,’ but that's what looks like happened in this case,” said Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley.

While Huff may have fallen through the cracks, he wasn't forgotten.

In fact, Foley said many in the city engaged him, even on the day of his death a week and a half ago, when 17-year-old Tywone Edwards allegedly shot him. Edwards says it was an accident.

“We had him sit down with the mayor himself within the year, we had him working with the YMCA, so he was involved in a lot of programs,” Foley said.

While 24/7 monitoring of at-risk youths is impossible, city leaders are looking for ways to bridge some of these gaps.

“We don't want to blame everybody and say it's their problem. This is a 'we' problem. We all need to coordinate what we need to do better,” Foley said.

The YMCA was a place where both Edwards and Huff Jr. turned to for help.

Now, with two kids on the verge of being lost to city violence, the YMCA will be ground zero for the solution.

“What's going to happen when a child is murdered in Hartford? What are we going to do then? That realization is here now and I hope we learn from this, from top to bottom,” said Rev. Henry Brown.

Officials at the YMCA are looking to tap into police resources when it comes to identifying at-risk youth, creating a database of teens they can mentor and keep tabs on.

“We'd love to get involved in that type of coordination, but you run into some privacy issues with juveniles, but here at the police department, we're very good at working around those and getting people the help they need,” Foley said.

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