New numbers from the FBI capture a picture of crime across the United States.
In 2020, homicides were up 30% in Connecticut – marked in blue on this chart - which follows a nationwide trend – seen in pink.
“We had a teenager (Sunday) who was killed in the city of Hartford and so this is a clear and present issue that we need to deal with,” said Sen. Kevin Kelly, R – Minority Leader.
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FBI crime stats also show a big increase in car thefts in the state in 2020. It’s an issue that has led to people in various communities demanding action.
Overall, violent crime increased in the country but in Connecticut, it dipped from 2019, continuing a decrease that has been underway for decades.
“Our state is much safer because of the criminal justice reforms that we’ve done. Our crime is down. Our prison population is down. We’re saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Sen. Bob Duff, D – Majority Leader.
There are signs that car thefts are already going back down. And some think in the coming year there will be a decrease in homicides which might have spiked due to the pandemic and tensions following the death of George Floyd.
“The good news is we're moving away from the pandemic. I think Connecticut in particular is rebuilding trust between the community and law enforcement. We've made a lot of changes,” said Mike Lawlor, University of New Haven criminal justice associate professor.
Republican leaders have been calling for a special legislative session to tackle crime. Democrats argue there are current tools in the toolbox that can be used and while they’re open to talking about the issue, any future changes to laws should be data-driven.