Hartford Homicide Rate Highest in New England - NECN


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Hartford Homicide Rate Climbs to Highest in New England

Hartford Homicide Rate Climbs to Highest in New England

Hartford has had more homicides than Boston and more than New Haven and Bridgeport combined so far in 2015. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015)

A crime wave is giving Connecticut’s capital city a deadly reputation.

After 19 homicides in 2014, Deputy Chief Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department said he expected the crime rate to increase this year.

"Last year, we anticipated that we’d have a spike in crime this year. Certainly not as high as it is," Foley said.

The city has experienced 24 homicides so far this year.

Foley said the cause of the crime spree is hard to pinpoint because there are many factors.

"If you look at convictions a few years ago, you can see who’s coming out of jail," Foley pointed out. "We also knew where our staffing was. We also knew where everybody’s resources were."

Hartford police said those resources have been tightened on the national, state and local levels.

"We continue to be a very vital partner. I’ve actually sent more resources to Hartford than just about anyplace else and sent more resources to Hartford than they asked for in the last round," said Gov. Dan Malloy.

Bernie Sullivan, who served as Hartford police chief from 1982 to 1989, remembers when the city’s crime rate was even worse.

"When I was chief, we were running 40 homicides a year. We had a lot more gang activity," said Sullivan.

Unlike other crime, which has gone down, the homicide rate in Hartford is the highest in four years.

Some business owners said  violent crime is having an impact on those making an investment in the city. Landlords like John Milledge have trouble finding tenants.

"All too often I’ve seen my property located around the city, the North End particularly, on the news," said Milledge.

Desmond Wright, 32, was shot in the temple and left to die on the sidewalk on Pershing Street in broad daylight Tuesday.

"The crime rate is so different now. I’m not safe as I was," said Deborah McDonald, who grew up in the neighborhood and still lives there.

She said the city needs to create more opportunity for work.

"How do these young kids get guns? You can get a gun but you can’t get a job," she wondered.

This year's homicide rate in Hartford has now surpassed that of Boston, a city five times its size. It's also more than the homicide rate in Bridgeport and New Haven put together.