(WTNH)– It’s the first edition of This Week in Connecticut, where we’ll bring you the stories that shape this great state. Every Sunday we will go in-depth with your concerns from your community and hold your leaders accountable.

First, the paralyzing pandemic that infected our way of life with a devastating impact. What we don’t hear much about is the rise in crime despite the number of people in quarantine. In fact, violent crime has spiked in some of Connecticut’s largest cities.

One of them is New Haven where the numbers there are quite alarming. The murder rate was up 81 percent in 2020 versus 2019. In Hartford, there’s nearly a 9% increase in the murder rate. Both cities are also dealing with a sharp increase in gun offenses.

News 8’s Dennis House went to one of those neighborhoods in Hartford to talk with people affected by COVID and crime in the video above.

Dennis was then joined by the state’s top law enforcer and two of his deputies to talk about that, and the challenges they are also facing as some lawmakers seek to reduce their power. Watch that exclusive interview also in the video above.

During the pandemic, gun sales have also skyrocketed and they’re not slowing down anytime soon. The surge is creating a nationwide ammunition shortage. But how did we get here, and why? News 8’s Amber Diaz takes a deeper dive into the pandemic buying of guns in the video above.

This is also a big week at the Capitol as the Governor lays out his plans to spend your money. Dennis spoke with Governor Ned Lamont about his ideas in the video below.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports 81 percent of youth who have ever used tobacco of any kind started with a flavored product. But will banning all flavored tobacco products solve the public health crisis?

The state is poised to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes. News 8 Chief Political Correspondent Jodi Latina takes a look at the impact of changing this public health policy in the video above.

Next, you have seen him for years on local and national television. His name is Robert Gentile, a Connecticut man who is the focus of the biggest art heist in history.

In 1990 burglars made off with millions in rare art, including works by Rembrandt that have never been found and the criminals never caught. The FBI thinks this grandfather from Manchester had the art at one point and knows where it is and who did it.

The man the feds call a mobster and gangster invited Dennis to his home for his first television interview ever. Watch the interview below.

Moving on back to COVID-19. Which vaccine is best for you? Is there an answer to that? Jeff Flaks, President and CEO of Hartford HealthCare, discusses the latest on COVID-19 vaccinations through Hartford HealthCare in the video above.

Now back to tobacco. Despite the government banning online sales, teens are accessing flavored tobacco over the internet. News 8’s Jodi Latina has how they’re doing that in the video below.

Watch This Week in Connecticut with Dennis House every Sunday at 10 a.m. on News 8.