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While Hartford Violent Crime Goes Down, Other Crimes Go Up

Segarra Wants Money from the state to help

By Jeff Cohen

June 21, 2012

Violent crime in the city of Hartford is down. But other crimes -- like robbery, larceny, and car theft -- are up over last year. In the second installment of a two-part interview with WNPR's Jeff Cohen, Mayor Pedro Segarra says the problem is people coming back to the community from prison...and he's looking to the state for help.

In the aftermath of a violent weekend that began June 9, Segarra boasted the city's efforts at reducing violent crime. And, indeed, murders, shooting incidents, and shooting victims are all down significantly over last year.

But while multi-year trends are still positive, there's been some change since last year in other serious crimes. Across the city, more cars have been stolen, more people have been robbed, and there have been more thefts. The mayor says he doesn't have the numbers to prove that these crimes are committed by people just let out of prison. But that's what his gut says.

Segarra: I do sense and I do feel and I do believe that a large reentry of people being released from prisons into the community, and getting them in the dosages that we've been getting them, do impact your crime stats - especially for quality of life crimes and larcenies and burglaries and robberies...We need to do a better job managing and working with our reentry population.

Cohen: Do you have the resources to do that?

Segarra: No.

To that end, Segarra recently asked the legislature for $750,000 in state money to create what he called a "comprehensive multi-year reentry project" that included coordination and case management. The proposal didn't go anywhere. But Segarra says it's still something he wants to focus on.

Michael Lawlor is the state's Under Secretary for the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division. He says government at all levels already spends a huge amount of money in this area. And the downward trend in crime stats shows that.

"The question isn't spending more money. The question is focusing that money and coordinating that money so it gets you to the desired results."

This whole conversation on crime with the city began after a violent weekend in Hartford. One of the victims was a 24-year-old cousin of City Council President Shawn Wooden. Police have since made one arrest in that case and have a warrant for a second suspect.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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