NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven’s mayor and police chief held the first of what is expected to be weekly briefings Tuesday regarding violence in the city and what they are doing to combat it.
“As of this morning [Tuesday], we have 144 guns seized with 139 arrests,” New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez said.
“Our strategy basically has two components,” Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven) said. “One is focused on stopping the violence, and two is focusing on getting people the services that they need.”
The city hopes to create a new department it says could be key to connecting services if it gets approved by the Board of Alders.
“It will allow us to coordinate across different issue areas,” the mayor said. “People experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, for example.”
To help combat crime the city is beefing up its shooting task force with three state police detectives.
“The personnel we have assigned are familiar with the city,” State Police Col. Stavros Mellekas said.
The city is also actively seeking new police recruits. The number of sworn officers now stands at 317.
“We’re budgeted for 406, so we are below staff,” Dominguez said.
The city is looking to add more cameras and expand its ShotSpotter system, which police say has been very effective in helping track down suspects and leading to arrests.
ShotSpotter alerts officers almost immediately to where shots are fired like at 168 West St. on May 20.
“Nineteen 9mm. shell casings were located in the road,” Dominguez said. “Detective Cresbow, who’s assigned to the shooting task force, conducted an investigation and it led to two arrests.”
Police also count on tips from the public like one alerting them to armed individuals coming in from Bridgeport to attend a vigil for a recent homicide victim.
“Two firearms were located in that vehicle with four arrests,” the police chief said.
But the mayor says no one spoke up at the funeral for Tyshaun Hargrove.
“I guarantee there were people who knew who shot that 14-year-old that was a member of our community,” Elicker said.