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New Haven Leaders and Community Exchange Ideas and Solutions For Gun Violence

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Three homicides in one week have sparked conversation among New Haven leaders, police department and the community.

A discussion was held in the Fair Haven section of the Elm City to talk about what's causing gun violence and to try and offer solutions as well as the city's plan to address crime.

For the people who live in New Haven, violence and, more specifically, gun violence is a prevalent issue and it's something Marlene Pratt has experienced firsthand.

"I lost my son to gun violence in 1998," said Pratt.

Pratt along with others who live in the city showed up for this community discussion to offer their perspective. The community also listened to how Mayor Justin Elicker and New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez plan to address the uptick in shootings and killings in the city.

This week alone, 3 people were killed and so far, there have been 22 homicides this year.

"It's a tragedy for the community and I think it's very, very important to understand because I hear that people are afraid," said Elicker.

Community members asked questions throughout the meeting and shared their perspectives about what they feel needs to change in New Haven.

The Elicker administration has announced several initiatives to end the violence since the beginning of the year. The city has opened a re-entry welcome center that offers job training, counseling and housing for those leaving prison and has tried to take a more community approach.

"It is something that we are committed to so if that's the walking beat or if that's the bicycle beat for the officers, it's important that officers are making those connections in their community," said Dominguez.

Reforming the city's shooting task force is another action. The initiative partners local police departments and the state's attorney's office to get guns off the streets and arrest those who are committing crimes.

"It's unsafe at this point, we need to make a difference, we need more resources," said Monica Rogers, who lives in New Haven. "We need more suggestions rather than just having police take over the communities, it would be great but it wouldn't necessarily work for us, we really need to look at the bigger picture here and that's why I wanted to show up to make a difference."

So far, New Haven's police department has taken 141 guns off the streets and city leaders say they want to continue to have this community discussion to find more solutions.

The Elicker administration also plans to implement the following: engage individuals at high risk, increase youth programming and provide more outreach workers.

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