A woman and two friends in the city for ConnectiCon over the weekend were robbed at gunpoint by a group of young men while walking along Pearl Street around 3:30 Sunday morning, according to Hartford police.
Deputy Chief Brian Foley said police stepped up patrols as they always do in advance of Convention Center events, and clarified that the robbery did not happen anywhere near the Convention Center, which closes at midnight.
"We try to provide the best protection for our city 24 hours a day, especially to our events and people coming in to our city" Foley said.
In a blog post, one of the alleged victims describes the armed robbery as "one of the most terrifying experiences of my life." She suggests that other conventioneers were also robbed but police say no other convention-related crimes were reported.
The blogger also suggests organizers of ConnectiCon should have provided more security to and from hotels where convention-related events were held.
In an e-mail, Matt Daigle, the organizer of ConnectiCon, said they take the safety and well being of attendees seriously.
"We work closely with Convention Center security, and the Hartford Police Department to ensure a safe and fun time for all," he said. "While this incident occurred offsite after Convention sponsored events had closed, and the Dash shuttle bus was no longer running, we will review our safety protocols, and work with HPD, and the City of Hartford amd other agencies to ensure that we are doing everything reasonably within our power to protect the safety of our attendees."
Daigle said his organization has set up a meeting with several local agencies and hotels to discuss this and other security and safety issues that the convention staff believes need to be addressed.
"We see the City of Hartford as a wonderful location to gather and celebrate our love for nerd culture. We will remind our attendees that while ConnectiCon is meant to be a weekend of fun and entertainment, personal safety should be a consideration for anyone making the decision to venture away from the convention site," Daigle said.
Foley said some hotels did hire Hartford police to provide extra security over the weekend, but not the Hilton closest to the scene of the armed robbery, which hosted a number of convention-related events.