Hartford police need to be more involved in neighborhoods and in the schools in order to lower the city’s violent crime rate, some residents and activists say.
While shootings were down 39 percent in May there were three fatal shootings as of mid-June, according to the Hartford Police Department’s data report on crime.
The Rev. Henry Brown said that residents, as well as the police department, should work together to decrease the number of shootings and other crimes in the city.
Brown is a familiar public figure in the city. Brown hosts anti-violence vigils and rallies to bring attention to the problems of street crimes.
“The Hartford police cannot reduce the crime in the city,” he said. “It’s up to the city residents to do something about it. If residents aren’t willing to work with the cops, nothing will get done.”
A former Hartford police officer who did not want his name used agrees with Brown. “The police department needs to form a bond with the different public schools in the city, parents, churches, alternative education departments and inner city groups,’’ the former officer said. “They have to provide a way out for the kids by showing them different routes for them besides dealing drugs.”
Hartford resident Lawrence Holloway agrees.
“If the police department got more socially involved with the public schools and community, the crime rates may go down,” said Holloway.
Vinny Vella, a reporter who covers crime for the Hartford Courant, said there are many reasons for the outbreak of violence in June.
“There are many different factors that could tie into why young adults act violent, some being the lack of education…or how many people in the city live in poverty. But for some, it’s a way of life. Growing up in a crime-infested neighborhood can cause them to realize that is all they have to look forward to, ” said Vella.
Hartford has a lot of offer both socially and culturally, but some residents feel as though there isn’t much hope left in the city, activists say.
“I think it will take a combination of different things, but I do think the crime rates will go down,” Brown said. “They have to go down.”
Kaye Paddyfote is a student at Conard High School, West Hartford.