City officials held a virtual town hall meeting about public safety amid an increase in gun violence in Hartford on Saturday.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin was joined by Hartford's new State's Attorney Sharmese Walcott, City Council President Maly D. Rosado, members of city council, Police Chief Jason Thody and Assistant Police Chief Rafael Medina for the meeting.
Bronin said there has been an unusual, severe spike in gun violence in Hartford.
According to Bronin, crime was flat this year through May, it increased in June and then there was a huge increase in September, when compared to the same times last year.
The Hartford Police Department said they've had 63 more shooting incidents compared to this time last year - a 54% increase. And in the last 28-day period, they've seen additional shootings compared to the 28 days before.
Bronin said usually shootings are higher in the summer and decrease in the fall, but this year it was the exact opposite.
While town officials have been trying to pinpoint a cause for the increase in gun violence, they said have not found one. They said they believe it's due to a complex number of issues.
In a Twitter thread, Bronin emphasized that too many of the individuals that Hartford officers are arresting are not being held.
"That's also been exacerbated by the pandemic. But it needs to change," Bronin said.
In response to the recent increase in gun violence, Bronin recently requested assistance from Connecticut State Police, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.
Bronin said this is a specific, targeted partnership, and state police personnel will not be conducting routine patrols of Hartford streets. The mayor said there will be 15 state police detectives/sergeants working with the city to investigate gun, drug, and auto theft.
"You're not going to see state police out there patrolling the city of Hartford. This is a very limited, targeted, focused, and deliberate partnership to strengthen our efforts as we work specifically to fight gun violence and reduce the amount of shooting activity we have seen," Bronin explained.
State police will provide added resources to the Hartford Police Department that will include embedding State Police Major Crime Detectives into the Hartford Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force. The Statewide Narcotics Task Force will also focus on Hartford, working to seize illegal and stolen guns, according to the governor's office.
City residents will also see uniformed troopers assigned to state on-ramps and off-ramps from the highways through Hartford.
Bronin said the have seen gun violence connected to auto thefts, and hopes that targeted enforcement on highways and highway ramps may help identity stolen vehicles and prevent an escalation to gun crime.
The mayor also made a request to the state Department of Correction to increase in-person supervision of parolees in the city.