Hartford, State Officials To Form Gun Violence Task Force
Segarra Announces Crime-Fighting Partnership
June 24, 2011
HARTFORD —— State police and the state's attorney's office are planning a new task force that will work with city police this summer to combat increasing gun violence.
There have been 17 homicides in the city so far this year, compared with 11 during the same period last year, according to city police. In addition, the city has had 70 shootings this year, compared with 64 at this point in 2010.
Mayor Pedro Segarra announced the partnership with state police Friday, but provided few details.
He said the city needs to "develop a format to better work with state" authorities in combating crime, and noted the challenges posed when criminals arrested in gun violence cases are later released on bail.
"We are not the ones supervising these folks," he said. "It's an incredible challenge to deal with all the components of crime control."
Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman, said Friday that the task force, which is still "in the planning stages," will be a partnership among state troopers, the state's attorney's office and Hartford police.
"The task force will assist in police operations, specifically major shooting incidents," Vance said.
He declined to discuss how many troopers or representatives from the state's attorney's office would be involved.
Segarra, speaking at a press conference marking his first year in office, said more details would be forthcoming in an announcement next week.
Reflecting on his first year as mayor, Segarra said there is "still a lot to do" on crime and unemployment. Hartford's unemployment rate hovers at about 16 percent, he said.
The mayor has recently focused on crime, walking in some neighborhoods at night with Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts and authorizing Roberts to use more patrols.
Despite the challenges of crime and unemployment, Segarra was able to point to some successes, such as lowering the city's tax rate, resolving budget deficits and diverting more resources toward youth services.
"We have accomplished a lot in the last year in terms of our economic situation," he said.
He encouraged residents to participate in improvement efforts.
"To the extent people in the community pointed out problems," Segarra said, "I invite them to get involved in the solutions."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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