Gov. Dannel Malloy says his efforts to reduce crime, arrests, and Connecticut’s prison population will be a reward for whoever emerges in November as the next governor.
"Listen,” Malloy told a room of reporters. “Some other governor is going to enjoy all the work we did because crime is going to continue to fall."
According to state and FBI records, violent and property crime in Connecticut have decreased by 25 percent during the period 2009 to 2017.
Connecticut had 71,883 crimes reported in 2017, a level not seen since 1967, and from 2009 to 2017 the number of statewide arrests dropped from 138,719 to 81,408.
Malloy said of the drop, "The reality is we are enjoying the safest period of our existence in 50 years."
At different points in the campaign for governor, the issue of crime and criminal justice has been brought up. On the Republican side, the issue has mainly focused on how Malloy was weak on crime, and that he downplayed poor crime statistics.
Republican Tim Herbst, who failed to win the party’s nomination, and later became party nominee Bob Stefanowski’s debate partner, remarked during debates that he would bring back, “law and order,” to Connecticut.
Malloy said any assertion that crime was in any way rampant, was a falsehood.
"I think anyone who says that quite frankly, clearly is intentionally misleading the public. They're lying and you know, the FBI doesn't lie. Facts are facts."
A spokesman for Stefanowski said of the crime report, "While on its face this seems like good news, the real story on recidivism is not quite as rosy.”
Campaign spokesman Kendall Marr told NBC Connecticut that recidivism rates still show more than half of all of those who qualified for early release were rearrested, but overall the number has been going down.
The state tracks inmates released in three-year cycles, and in 2014, the number of prisoners released who returned to prison was lower than in 2011.
Ned Lamont, the Democrat vying to become the next governor, told NBC Connecticut, "Connecticut has become a leader on criminal justice because it is a moral issue and an economic one. As Governor, I will continue to invest in education, job training, and equal opportunity so that everyone has a chance to build a future.
He added that if Stefanowski’s income tax elimination plan comes to fruition, then that would, “deal a devastating blow to education, crime prevention, and second-chance efforts that are working, which would take Connecticut backwards.”