NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Several shootings in four days has New Haven city officials concerned and community leaders fuming. They say not enough is being done to address the rapid rise in crime.
More people have been killed in New Haven this year than in all of last year. Mayor Justin Elicker and city leaders say they’re doing all they can.
The mayor, police, and local leaders went door-to-door to local businesses Wednesday talking to them, listening, and trying to figure out how to respond to this as growing criticism continues from the community.
Brian Palomino’s family owns 360 Barbershop on Grand Avenue. He’s not just worried about his own safety, he’s worried about his customers, too.
“We do not see police after a certain amount of time, after a certain hour,” Palomino said.
Most of the shootings this week were in Fair Haven, like the one on Tuesday night across the street from the barbershop.
Five shootings in the last four days, three of them homicides. The latest one was on Newhall Street and was the 23rd homicide of the year in the Elm City (last year’s total was 20).
There is growing criticism from community leaders that what the city is doing simply isn’t working to stem the tide of crime.
“Our team is very committed to ensuring the safety of the neighborhood. Now, it’s DEFCON 5. People are dying in this city and we have to go back to the table,” said retired police sergeant and Beaver Hills Board of Alders candidate Safiq Abdussabur.
Abdussabur says the city needs to redesign its approach to public safety. Part of that is making sure New Haven police officers feel supported, with more staffing and funding. The retired police sergeant says city hall fails to include all community stakeholders in its approach to fighting the violence.
“It is absolutely a challenge right now. I’m the first to say that we are understaffed. This is a problem that takes a lot of time to address,” the mayor admitted.
On Thursday he added, “The violence in our community is unacceptable.” To combat the problem he has stepped up police presence in the community on bikes and walking patrols.
While police can’t point to one particular reason for the uptick in violence, the number of guns in the city appears to have grown during the pandemic.
“We have taken over 140 guns of the street, made 135 gun arrests,” Mayor Elicker explained. “Compared to last year, this number is way higher.
If you have any information about any of these crimes you’re asked to call New Haven Police. The city is holding a community meeting on Friday at 6 p.m. to address citizen concerns.