NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Leaders in New Haven say they could make communities safer by collecting real-time crime statistics and training more first responders.
Leaders are looking to prevent gun violence before it happens from a criminal justice perspective and public health concern.
“It’s about giving people what they need to keep them out of violence. So, for us, it’s about preventing violence,” New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said.
As of Thursday, there have been 70 incidents of shots fired in New Haven. That’s up from 47 this time in 2022.
Homicides are also up in the Elm City. There have been six homicides in 2023, up from two this time last year.
“We had a bad start to the year. I’ve never seen five homicides in one month,” Jacobson said.
Police: New Haven seeing homicide increase, shooting decrease in 2023
The department’s partnering with the University of New Haven and local healthcare providers. The university received a $1 million federal grant to track crime stats in real-time.
“Where are the crimes happening, and how soon do we know that they’re happening? Then we start crunching numbers and seeing where things are,” said Dr. Lorenzo Boyd, a Stewart Professor of Criminal Justice and Community Policing at the University of New Haven.
He said the sooner they locate the problems, the sooner they can roll out solutions.
“Most of the time, we have a 30 or 60-day wait time. Now, we’ll know today what’s happening and be able to put things into effect tomorrow,” Boyd said.
Dr. Karl Minges, chair of the University of New Haven’s Department of Population Health and Leadership, said part of their effort is to de-escalate situations.
“If a patient is shot, oftentimes their whole community comes into the hospital to either seek retaliation, to try to understand things more. So, we really want to lower the temperature in those situations,” Minges said.
Another approach is training nearly 200 officers about trauma and building community relationships before a crime occurs.
“They then get to ask the right questions. They get to be more empathic, and through this method of interviewing, they’re going to get more information. They’re going to get more collaboration,” Boyd said.
Leaders say this is a two-year program. The first year focuses on collecting data and creating solutions. The second year is about implementing those solutions.
While this is geared toward New Haven, they want to expand to other parts of Connecticut.