NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In a News 8 exclusive, the Greater New Haven Clergy Association confirms it is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, State’s Attorney, and probation, parole, and education officials to address the crime rate in the city.
Homicides have more than doubled since this time last year. The 17th murder victim of the year was found last night on Exchange Street. The man had been shot to death, according to police.
Leaders met with federal officials last month and are working on an ongoing partnership. New Haven Police are also involved in the initiative.
“It could be my family. It could be your family. It could be any family. But we’ve got to put our foot down in this city,” said Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber of First Calvary Baptist Church.
Kimber is hoping to tackle the violence at its root, and set an example for the rest of Connecticut.
“All of us at the table to talk about what is happening with this city in particular, and across the state,” he said, “The short term [plan] is to get a grip on homicides and shootings. The long term is to rehabilitate people and make people safe in our community.”
The meeting follows several high profile killings, including beloved amateur boxer Dayshon Smith in August.
Mayor Justin Elicker says the city is eager to work with community partners including faith leaders. He says New Haven has taken action to combat crime including recruiting officers, training with clergy, focusing on affordable housing, and working to make sure citizens’ basic needs are met during the pandemic.
“We’ve had a very, very difficult year and I think that’s everything from a certain sense of lawlessness. We saw this with everything from a lot of fireworks to dirt biking and ATVs drag racing around the city. And that coupled with constraints on police resources, with many things to address, has created a real challenge.”
“I have a lot of faith in our police department. They are working hard,” the mayor said, adding that it’s not all a policing issue. “A lot of this comes down to resources, and the city has serious financial challenges so we’ll be looking to the state and to our major partners like Yale University and the hospital.”
“The community has to bear blame in this also. We’re not innocent in this,” added Kimber.