Community members in New Haven start nightly gatherings to combat rise in violence in the city

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Community gatherings are being held nightly in Fair Haven. These residents hope that by coming together, they’ll drive violence out and make the area safer for everyone.

“The truth of the matter is, in the last five years, there have been 62 reported incidents of criminality here including carjackings, drug-related transactions, fights,” said Kica Matos of New Haven. “Last week’s shooting was the final straw for us.”

At Tuesday night’s community gathering, there was dancing, singing and music being played. They chose to sit outside of the Grand Café at the corner of East Pearl Street and Grand Avenue, as they feel this establishment has contributed to what has been happening. They’re pushing to shut it down, in turn making a big impact on what they’re seeing and experiencing.

“New owners, new management for 13 years,” said India Rivera, an employee at the Grand Café. “We never had an incident, never had a report.”

A heated exchange sparked among residents, New Haven Police, bar patrons and employees. Employees News 8 spoke with said this establishment isn’t to blame.

“Anything that happened in this parking lot has nothing to do with inside this bar,” Rivera said. “Okay? Nothing at all!”

Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson of the New Haven Police Department said there have been more than 60 police reports regarding the Grand Café.

“We’ve had weapons arrests, people arrested for illegally possessing firearms, narcotics violations,” said Assistant Chief Jacobson. “Not putting all the onus on the bar, but something needs to change.”

Residents feel these gatherings are a good place to start. They’re encouraging all residents who want to see change to join them in the nights to come. These gatherings will be held in the same spot through October. 

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