What does it take to solve homicides in Hartford? We go behind the scenes with the Major Crimes Division

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Violent crime is up across the country, and across Connecticut. In Hartford, they are currently working on back-to-back murders that happened the same day. They took us behind the scenes in the Major Crimes Division to see what the process of solving these cases entails.

It’s not quite a record year for Hartford homicides, but it is up there near the top. And that means detectives working 24 to even 48 hours straight trying to bring the killers to justice.

Lt. Aaron Boisvert of Hartford Police told us, “It’s been busy, a busy year. As you can see by the board we are up to 18 homicides.”

The first two murders of 2021 were back-to-back and unrelated. The most recent two also back-to-back and unrelated. 

RELATED: ‘Heartbreaking’: Woman killed in drive-by shooting while cooking dinner in Hartford home, PD investigating as homicide

Lt. Boisvert explained, “You see the red those are open cases. You see the black, those are arrests made.”

Major Crimes tracks the homicides on “The Board.” It has the weapon, the location, and the name of the victim. They are always working for the victim and their families.

Lt. Boisvert said, “You are dealing with somebody on their absolute worst day…That is your homicide, you are mostly involved in it. It’s your responsibility to bring closure to that family…Oftentimes, detectives develop close bonds with the family, bonds and relationships they carry on for years and years and even decades afterward…And the detectives know that, and that can be a heavy burden. That is on you, that is your job.”

Last year, Hartford had an 80% solve rate on their homicides; the national average is about 60%.

“It’s a calling. The detectives put in a tremendous amount of hours…If somebody gets shot, they stop what they are doing and come into work, and they stay at work until they tax every lead…And what they are doing on no sleep, is amazing. They are still going full speed ahead. There is no going home when the leads are coming in, these guys are here for almost 30 hours yesterday, and the last hour they were just as motivated as they were the first hour. This is the life they live, this is what they do, the price of the watch.”

Lt. Boisvert added that it’s easy to show the offices, crime scene vans, and ‘The Board’, but “most of the detectives are on the streets 24/7 because that is where the work is done and that is where the arrests are made.”

“These guys are absolute bloodhounds, they live this life. They are relentless in these pursuits and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone from a victim with no solvability, to somebody in handcuffs in hours, it happens quite often.”

While Hartford has one of the highest solve rates, detectives own the open cases for life.

“Their cases here that have definitely haunted the guys, and it bothers them to this day.”

Last year there were 30 homicides, if this pace keeps up, by the end of 2021 there could be 36 or 37.

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