Hartford police say recent rise in violence could be pandemic-related


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin calls Friday night “a tough night in the city.”

Hartford resident, Meghan Rego questions: “What is happening?”

Two violent incidents happening in Hartford last night — just part of the recent uptick in violence in Connecticut’s capital city. One shooting happened in the 2000 block of Main Street. The other involved two people being shot — one fatally — on Henry Street, where Rego lives. She tells News8 she heard 10 or 15 gunshots.

“Very scary,” she said. “I don’t feel safe in my neighborhood.”

Hartford Police telling News8 the recent violence may be somewhat connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. News8 getting this statement from Hartford Police Chief. Jason C. Thody. It reads in part:

“I don’t think we can point to any one thing that is causing an increase in shooting activity, but it is clear that some of the changes associated with the pandemic have had a cumulative effect, and we’re seeing that in other cities in Connecticut and across the country, as well … While the department has adjusted and increased enforcement efforts, the limited operations of many other judicial and criminal justice entities has made it difficult for these efforts to have a lasting impact. We will continue to do everything we can to prevent and deter violence and to bring perpetrators to justice, which we have been particularly successful at this year.”

Police also go on to say the rise in violence involves personal disputes — many linked directly to stolen vehicles involving young people. They also say a lot of the victims and offenders have recent criminal arrests that have not been processed through the court system due to COVID or they’re on some type of supervised released that’s been limited due to COVID.

Several Hartford Police Officers interacting with the community today at a cookout.

“We have to work together — the police department and the community — have those open lines of communication,” said Rafael Medina, of the Hartford PD.

Police add the majority of the recent violence is not connected to gang activity.

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