HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Homicides in Connecticut’s Capital city have nearly doubled from last year. Federal and state officials say the pandemic contributed to a spike in crime. Now there’s an effort to address the issue across federal, state, and local levels.

It’s fitting that here at St. Francis, where they are on the frontlines of saving lives, that Governor Lamont unveiled millions to fight gun violence days after President Biden announced a plan to work on this issue with states. 

A so-called epidemic heightened summer months, Gov. Ned Lamont announcing that he will set aside $5 million in federal Cares Act funding, making resources available right away for cities and towns facing uptick gun violence, car thefts and overdoses. 

“We are not an immune, we are not an island and I see what’s happening in other cities and states and our violence is spiking up as well,” said Gov. Lamont.

56% of violence victims are black, 5x the percentage of the population in this state. Auto thefts and overdose deaths are also up amid amid the pandemic. 

“At the scale that we’re operating at now in terms of the kinds of violence that we’re seeing play out inside our communities,” said Andrew Woods, Director of Communities That Care. “It’s like drinking from a fire hydrant when it comes down to connecting to individuals who are at risk for violence, but also supporting them and their families.”

The Governor’s plan will bring together the community groups and police working across local, state, federal levels to expand community outreach, process crime evidence, and come up with regional strategies.

State police will be using the money to expand testing of evidence collected at new sites in Meriden and Waterbury. 

“We want to bring these investigative aids to bear in a more timely manner and a manner that can help solve a crime and with that you help solve the threat of retaliation that moves forward,” said Emergency Services Commissioner James Rovella.