Community members in the Fair Haven neighborhood of New Haven are taking action after an uptick in gun violence. They’re planning to gather every day for the next month and a half.
“Last week’s shooting was the final straw for us,” said Kica Matos, a neighborhood activist.
Last week police say New Haven saw three homicides and two shootings. Authorities say three of the incidents happened in the Fair Haven neighborhood, one of them in the parking lot where community members gathered Tuesday evening.
“Neighbors every night have committed to being here. We’ve got board games. We’ve got music. We’re going to interrupt the violence and reclaim our community,” said Matos.
In a parking lot at the intersection of Grand Avenue and East Pearl Street from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day through the end of October, community members say they’ll bring music and dancing and that they’re bringing it in protest of one particular business.
“Every time I walk down this street I start to get nervous when I hit Grand Café because there’s always something going on. That is really frightening,” said Matos.
Matos lives nearby and says their aim is to shut down Grand Café.
But those who work there say it’s not the bar that’s causing the problem. One employee says they have security at night and that the issues happen outside the bar.
“We’ve been open for 13 years, and we haven’t had a problem. We’ve never had an incident,” said India Rivera, a Grand Café employee.
New Haven Police disagree, saying that they’ve documented drug sales, they’ve executed search warrants, and that there are dozens of police reports.
“We’ve had a lot of issues at the bar. I’m not saying it’s the bar's fault, but we need to look at different situations,” said Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson.
Police say the bar’s liquor license is coming up and that they’re looking to take action to make sure it isn’t renewed.
Police and the mayor also began a weekly briefing addressing gun violence in the city and spoke about ways they’re working to combat it, which include more police walking and bicycle beats and enhanced youth programs.