Hartford leaders detail plans to stem violence - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford leaders detail plans to stem violence

Posted: Updated:
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Friday outlined some plans to stem recent violence in the capital city. (WFSB) Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Friday outlined some plans to stem recent violence in the capital city. (WFSB)
So far in 2018, Hartford has seen 62 shootings with 10 of them being deadly. (WFSB) So far in 2018, Hartford has seen 62 shootings with 10 of them being deadly. (WFSB)

The capital city has seen an uptick in shootings and officials called the statistics troubling.

Hartford is nearing the number of murders it had at this point last year.

Mayor Luke Bronin and other city officials held a news conference around 8:30 a.m. to discuss plans. 

"We have seen an uptick in shootings over the past number of weeks," Bronin said. "While we are down slightly in homicides, thank God over last year, we have seen an increase in shooting incidents."

They spoke about initiatives for children that will happen this summer as well as increasing policing efforts.

Thursday, the city tallied its 10th homicide of 2018. By this time in 2017, there were 12.

That's on top of 75 other shootings in the city in which someone was not killed. Last year at this time, it was 52.

Among the youth initiatives discussed by city leaders and law enforcement included opening the Parker Memorial Community Center and the Samuel Arroyo Recreational Center from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the summer.

Also, the U.S. Attorney's office agreed to work with Hartford police to bring back the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. That is meant to help with more court-related resources that will focus on prosecuting the most violent offenders.

State police have also committed to sending investigative resources to help Hartford police.

Hartford police said they have also started to increase their presence in targeted areas.

This week, Hartford police Chief David Rosado said he assigned two 2-man walk beats. One is in the north end and the other is in the south end. They'll walk the beat overnight. Four officers were also added to each shift on patrol. Seventeen community service officers will focus on crime-riddled areas and make sure they're visible.

“We as a police department and a city do not tolerate gun violence," Rosado said.

Rosado said next week, a street crime unit of eight officers and a sergeant will be dedicated to firearms and narcotics crimes.

“You’re going to see a lot of officers on the street in the coming days," he said. "I’m going to let the community know that but they're also officers you’re not going to see at all. It’s a multi-pronged approach.”

Bronin and Rosado stressed that the violence has not been random. People have been targeted due to drug or gang disputes.

Still, that's a small comfort to other community leaders.

“Young mothers and their children can't go out outside to play, elderly can't walk the street anymore because the fear of the guns because we don’t know when shootings are going to take place," said Rev. Henry Brown, a community leader. "And many of these shootings are going to take place in broad daylight.”

In the case of Thursday's incident, 34-year-old Miguel Perez of Hartford was shot in the back around 2:45 a.m. He then crashed a car onto the lawn of a home on Hamilton Street.

Beforehand on Wednesday, another man was shot in the back but is expected to survive.

In both cases, police believe the victims were targeted.

However, that doesn't make the people in the community feel much better, including police.

“We’re at 10 homicides and not all of those are shooting homicides," said Lt. Paul Cicero, Hartford police.

A study showed that the city needed about 482 officers. It currently has around 400.

According to Mayor Luke Bronin's office, the city recruited 66 officers over the past two and a half years compared to 47 in the previous four years.

Still, community leaders called it simple math. They said more police are needed on the streets.

“We’ve been calling for extra police for years," Brown said. "It never happened. We talk about these prevention programs, where are they?”

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.