MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) -- The FBI has been called in to help stop gang violence in two Connecticut cities.
A joint taskforce between the FBI, Meriden, and Waterbury police departments is officially underway.
“The FBI is always here, we’re just not always behind the podium like this, not always obvious in the community,” said David Sundberg, of the FBI.
One day before the partnership was announced, shots were fired at a Meriden Mall parking lot, in broad daylight.
This was one of the few times where this kind of violence came to such a prominent public place.
The taskforce comes after weeks of what police are calling gang violence in Meriden and Waterbury.
“We need to combat this violence and stay ahead of this violence that’s increased in our communities,” said Meriden Police Chief Roberto Rosado.
The FBI brings its personnel to the table, along with its high-tech resources.
“We’re able to leverage various forms of technology in our investigations, which are not always within reach of local budgets,” Sundberg said.
The collaboration between the cities and the FBI has actually been going on for weeks, and it has already seen results.
Last month, federal officials worked with Meriden police to uncover a huge stash of weapons on Round Hill Road.
Two Meriden men and a New Haven man were arrested.
“One of those individuals is believed to be involved in another shooting, and that’s the information we got from our federal partners,” Rosado said.
However, the battle they’re fighting is uphill, as police attribute much of the violence to gangs.
“We did develop information and were able to correlate an axis for a lot of this violence occurring between Meriden and Waterbury,” said Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo.
This month alone, Meriden has investigated five gun related incidents, including two homicides.
Waterbury has seen one homicide this month, while making two arrests in homicide cases from the summer.
“We don’t want history to repeat itself, so our goal is to nip this in the bud right now,” Rosado said.
The FBI said this partnership so far has resulted in 20 arrests and 17 weapons taken off the street.