NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It has been shooting, after homicide, after drive-by in New Haven and it has reached a boiling point.
“I hear people are afraid, people are afraid. The violence that is happening comes from people who know each other,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.
A big meeting was held Friday night with the mayor, community leaders, the city’s police chief, lawmakers, alders and even a team from the state attorney’s office, all of who are looking to stop the violence.
“We are also increasing the number of officers that are walking the beat, biking the beat. We are re-creating the shooting task force and the task force has been working quite hard to solve some of the crimes,” Mayor Elicker said.
The city is getting some reinforcements. A new class of police officers was sworn in today and more are coming.
“Starting today, five officers, four from New Haven and four females of the five, so we are very excited. This is just the first wave,” said New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez.
Many people in the community are excited more police officers are coming on, but they say the police officers are there to stop the violence, they need to prevent it and that happens inside the community.
“There are no after-school programs besides the Boys and Girls Club that I could name, but what about the teenagers, some of the crimes that [are] happening [are] due to teenagers,” said Monica Rogers of New Haven.
At the meeting, some people wanted to see a “stop the gun” campaign being taught to middle school kids similar to the “say no to drugs.”
“If you’re approached with gun violence, that you went through the curriculum and you have some type of solutions on how to handle different things when people try to put guns in your hand,” said Marlene Pratt of New Haven.
The city is working on a plan, especially to help criminals who have been released from prison to get back on their feet.
“One of the things we are trying to do really hard is work with the Department of Corrections to see if we can engage with people before they are released. Not just a law enforcement engagement, but a social services engagement,” said Dr. Mehul Dalal with the City of New Haven.
The idea is to have a friendly face greet them so when they get out of prison, they know where they can go and where they can get a job, so they can move forward and re-enter the community.