They are two of Connecticut’s biggest cities, but when it comes to homicide rates, Hartford and New Haven are seeing different trends at the start of 2022.
While Hartford has had five homicides to-date, New Haven has not had any.
"People are anxious, extremely angry. It's this combination of all of those. You know, right now we don't know who’s going to be next,” Rev. Henry Brown, an activist dedicated to curbing gun violence, said.
That is a major fear for Brown when he looks at the homicide numbers in Hartford.
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"That's too much, and we're just on the second month of the year,” he said.
All five deaths were from gunshots, according to Lt. Aaron Boisvert with the Hartford Police Department. Last year at this time, Hartford had three homicides.
While no arrests have been made yet, Boisvert said each case is moving forward. All of the shootings involved people who knew each other, which he said makes these crimes hard to predict.
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The department is taking a proactive policing approach, with a detail of 30 officers patrolling known crime areas.
So far, officers have seized 51 guns this year.
Brown feels the community relationship is strong with Hartford police, but he wants to see more investment from local and state governments, and hopes it happens before shootings snowball.
"Once they have started happening, they keep coming in numbers. So right now is that we're gonna hit it off, time to do it now. Like I said earlier, we need to start investing more into the inner cities,” Brown said.
In New Haven, zero is a number police are proud of: no homicides in 2022. Last year, the city had seven homicides by this time.
City officials credit some progress to bi-weekly meetings to work on homicides, and a shooting task force solving cases.
"We're still continuing to make sure that we're giving everything we can to solve what we have in the past and also to continue to prevent any further shooting homicides from occurring,” Interim Police Chief Renee Domingue said at a public safety briefing Friday.
It does not mean guns aren’t on the streets. Police have seized 29 guns and made 26 firearm arrests this year. There have been 15 shootings that were not deadly.
“We’re optimistic that we're making progress on those, but given the number of shootings that we're seeing, we still have a lot of work to do,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said. “Now is not the time for us to pat ourselves on the back and say that things are going well.”
Domingue said the effort to curb gun violence is a collaboration. New Haven and Hartford police are in contact, along with other area police departments, to share information about shootings that can help solve cases.