East Hartford Discusses Youth Crime Problem & Possible Solutions

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Dozens of people who are fed up came together for a meeting in East Hartford to voice their concerns about increases in some youth crime.

“I just wanted to see what East Hartford was going to do about it,” said Deb Glassey of East Hartford.

There was talk about the problem and possible solutions.

Some could be targeted like police being allowed to detain teens longer and some would be more comprehensive, getting to kids before they turn to crime.

Many are demanding at least something be done.

“We are terrified at night now. Absolutely terrified,” said Pam Stack of East Hartford.

There was a heartbreaking moment as a friend of 53-year-old Henryk Gudelski spoke about how he was jogging when was struck and killed allegedly by a teen driving a stolen SUV in New Britain in June.

“Nobody deserves how my friend died,” said the friend.

In East Hartford investigators say two police cruisers were damaged and two officers were hospitalized after a pursuing a stolen car in April.

At least one of the suspects was a teen.

“The community is hurting. There’s things that we are seeing that we haven’t seen before and we have to act quickly,” said Chief Scott Sansom of East Hartford Police.

Sansom says on Wednesday he met with about two dozen other chiefs to work on the problem and figure out what to do.

Lawmakers are studying it too.

“I don’t know if necessarily new laws are needed as much as we need to make adjustments either with current law or practices that are taking place within the judicial branch itself,” said Rep. Jason Rojas, the House majority leader.

Representative Rojas and the police chief say there could be several factors at play – including the pandemic – for why some youth crimes increased in certain areas.

As the search for answers continues, many here are running out of patience.

“They’re committing real crimes, dangerous crimes. They’re shooting at people. They don’t really care what’s going to happen because they know there is no repercussions,” said Pam Stack.

The House Majority Leader says a bi-partisan group is studying the issue and then will make its recommendations to the legislature.

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