First, I would like to express my humble thanks and appreciation to those who have posted such kind thoughts and wishes for me and the men and women of the Hartford Police Department on my first Blog. Please know that your support and confidence means everything to us as we do the best job we can to serve and protect you and your families.
Secondly, I would like to respond to some questions posted last week. With respect to “southender” who asked about crime in the Southeast District, I wish to refer you to the HPD crime statistics for the week ending May 24, 2008, which you can view at the following link: http://www.hartford.gov/police/Crime_Stats_Folder/2008%20Crime%20Statistics/2008_05_24.pdf. On review you will see that Part 1 crime in the Southeast District is down year to date over the same period in 2007 by -17.7 percent, the second largest drop and 2 percent more than the citywide decrease of -15.9 percent. However, this does not discount the serious issue of gun related violence that continues to plague our city.
In response to “irysh0ze” inquiries, I can report that we have just recently added an additional K-9 Team, we do utilize seized vehicles for undercover operations where appropriate, however, we must take into account maintenance, liens, etc., on these vehicles, which become the city’s responsibility and can become costly, and we have not yet looked at the GPS “Star Chase System.”
Most importantly, “irysh0ze” poses a question I would very much like to discuss this week, and that is: “What would you like to see the general public do more to help you with your job?” This question is at the heart of neighborhood policing, for the police cannot quell gun violence in our community alone. Year to date we have seized close to 180 guns, last year we seized 400. In one day alone Vice and Narcotics detectives conducted seven hot spot details, resulting in 42 arrests, seizure of two firearms, three vehicles, ten grams of crack, 1,300 bags of Heroin, and 12 grams of cocaine. One of the guns was commercially produced to look like a walking stick. You can see a photo of it in my March 16, 2008, statement announcing my Safe City Initiative I spoke of last week.
Yet, despite our most vigilant suppression efforts, gun violence continues to plague certain area of the city, perpetrated by individuals with no regard for the safety our community or themselves. We know who these people are – we are arresting them and will continue to arrest them. We are doing our job and will continue to do so - but we need the community’s help – as partners – to work with us as crime solvers. Getting information to the police on those who would disrupt peace and order in our city is paramount to our success. If you require anonymity you can call our confidential Crime Solvers Tipline: 860-527-TIPS (8477).
Furthermore, I am in discussion with the national group “Crime Stoppers USA” to bring their program to Hartford. Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization of citizens against crime. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $1000 to anyone furnishing anonymous information that leads to the arrest of criminals, including those committing serious felony crimes, and fugitives. Information is received through anonymous Crime Stoppers tips that are received through a secure tips line or through a secure web connection manned by a professional program coordinator. Each caller is assigned a code number for the purpose of insuring anonymity. This program has proven quite successful for the City of Waterbury, Connecticut.
Partnering with the police, I believe, is the most important and effective support the community can contribute to public safety in our city. Your thoughts and comments about Crime Stoppers, or other public safety issues are most welcome. Visit Crime Stoppers USA at http://www.crimestopusa.com/AboutUs.asp#