Hartford Police have taken new steps to fight crime and boost the economy by starting a new police unit assigned to work with business owners.
The goal is respond to quality of life issues that can have an negative impact on the small local businesses on Park Street and to clean up the area so it can be more inviting for shoppers and families.
Community Service Officers will be assigned to cover the business district on Park Street, between Main and Parkview Terrace.
Officials said business owners in the area asked police for help. For the last month and a half, four officers have made their presence known on Park Street.
They started to walk the blocks day and night, and go into the dozens of businesses to ask about issues, and way to improve this neighborhood.
Since the extra patrols started, police said they stopped people from dealing drugs and drinking alcohol in front of the store fronts, and playing loud music.
“Just their presence alone gives me a sense of security,” said Ivanis Rivera, the owner of Cool Aid.
She said the new patrols chased away the unwanted crowds that have loitered by her door consistently. She said more customers are showing up at her clothing store as well. “It makes people feel more welcome and open to see what we have to offer,” Rivera added.
The Deputy Police Chief said the experimental patrols have improved the quality of life too.
“We want them to feel safe we want them to have an enjoyable environment where they can bring their families,” Deputy Chief Luis Rodriguez explained.
He also told NBC Connecticut neighbors have gotten to know these officers, and they’ve become more comfortable reporting crimes and suspicious activity.
“They’re coming forward with information,” Rodriguez explained.
The hope was that the change would attract a new crowd to this business district. Right now the Hartford Police Department is only running this experiment along Park Street. Officials said police could expand the patrols across the city in the next few months.