Community meeting held to discuss Hartford public safety initiative

A community meeting was held to discuss Hartford's public safety initiative after recent violence (WFSB)

While homicides have been down in the capital city this year compared to last, shootings have increased.

On Thursday night, a fed up community had a chance to meet face to face with city leaders.

The change is happening behind the scenes right now.

More officers are being hired, but for those who have personally been impacted, they say it’s too late.

“He was shot in the back, it was 2 o’clock in the morning, and it was the incident on Hamilton and Brookfield Streets,” said Jackie Maldonado.

Maldonado’s brother, Miguel was the latest homicide victim in Hartford.

“I’m hoping that whoever did this, what they did to my brother, doesn’t go unpunished,” said Maldonado.

On Thursday, at a well-attended community meeting in Hartford’s Barry Square neighborhood in the south end, she let Mayor Luke Bronin and Police Chief David Rosado know there’s a story behind the name.

“It took extraordinary courage and strength for her to be here tonight, share her story and participate in this conversation. It’s important to hear directly from families who have been directly affected,” said Bronin.

With ten families burying a loved one due to homicides this year, according to Bronin, that stat is down by two this year, compared to last.

However, with police investigating 75 shootings compared to 52 at this time last year, he says that’s troubling.

“The vast majority of the violence we see is not random. It is between people who know each other, it is drug related,” Bronin said.

Neighbors in the south end say they’ve seen fewer officers patrolling the streets.“There’s a decrease of police in general in the city,” said Hyacinth Vennie, a community organizer.“I wish we had more officers on the street in large part because I wish we didn’t have to ask so much of each individual officer,” Bronin said.The department has seen recent retirements, but the city is in the middle of an aggressive hiring process.

Since Bronin took office, 66 new officers have been recruited and two additional classes are in the pipeline.

It’ll be October before the new officers hit the streets. In the meantime, the city is trying to engage the community.“We’re working with groups out on the street, intervening when there is a possibility of violence that seems likely,” said Bronin.

Already mourning the loss of her brother, Maldonado is hoping things can turn around before others share her sorrow.

“It’s sad that I don’t even feel safe living here,” Maldonado said.

In addition to the community outreach, local recreation centers will be open during the night starting on Thursdays and going through the weekend.

The main goal is to keep the kids off the street.

This was the first community meeting of three held in the city. The next will be on June 18.

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


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