A simple gesture of a “Hello” and “How are you?” is showing the Newhallville neighborhood that New Haven Police officers are on their streets.
However, the officers aren't part of the normal community policing efforts.
They're extra duty officers out walking for four hours at a time to target the trouble spots where the most crime is reported.
It's part of a $75,000 Smart Policing grant from the Department of Justice.
“As long as officers walk through those areas once or twice every hour, it will push the crime away, it will suppress the crime, either by in the sense that the criminals will leave the area because they always see the police officers in the area, or they just won't do crime,” said New Haven Police Lt. Ken Blanchard, who supervises the Newhallville district.
The program started last week. In just one four-hour shift, officers were able to connect with about 66 people in the area.
They report their interactions back to analysts.
For the next 12 weeks, those analysts will collect data to see if the program is working. It's already getting some good feedback in the community.
“I think that's a good thing because of lot of crime is going on in this city, and we need these extra policemen out here to help with the community,” said Arlenda Briggs, who lives in Newhallville.
Some of the specific areas officers will be walking are up Dixwell Avenue, Winchester Avenue and Newhall Street. People say those areas need extra vigilance.
“I'm hoping to see the crime in this area decrease so there's a comfort level for people who need to come out of their homes,” said Laura Weston, who lives in Newhallville.