Friday, July 15, 2011
ANOTHER BUSY NIGHT, ANOTHER HOMICIDE
I don't know how much clearer it needs to get, but we obviously have a real crime problem in Hartford. I know, that might seem like a news flash to some of our "leaders".
I started off the evening attending Reverend Henry Brown's latest prayer vigil at the corner of Martin and Nelson Streets. Martin Street has been extremely violent this year. Although many people were watching the vigil from behind curtains in their apartment windows, only a handful ventured out to show their solidarity as a neighborhood. The bright spot was when a group of kids on bikes stopped and Henry said a prayer with them.
As we were about to leave the vigil, the police radios squawked with a report of "shots fired" at 32 Vine Street. It was a little after 6:00PM,still daylight, and the streets were still very busy. Henry and I both drove by the location and we stopped to talk to residents that were out on the sidewalk.
The people we talked to were telling us that no one really pays attention to them and the sounds of gunshots and shooting victims on the sidewalks are a regular occurrence. I texted Chief Roberts about the incident because I knew he had the Mayor in tow once again for the latest episode of "Pedro on the Beat". Unfortunately I guess my text interrupted their stop at the Jazzfest in Bushnell Park. The Chief texted me back that they were "on the way".
While waiting for the Chief and the Mayor to show up, the group of people talking to me grew by a few more residents, and it surprised me the information they were providing to me. I asked if they had passed it on to the police and they said no. The wall of mistrust between the community and the police, and I think vice-versa also, amazes me.
Why would they share information with me, the guy standing there in a suit and tie, but not with the Police? Definitely something that needs a lot of work in our "Community Policing" plan. They were also surprised that I was taking the time to talk to them, no "politicians" ever stopped and talked to them. That was obvious later on when the Council President drove by, beeped and yelled hello to the Chief and Mayor as she drove by.
It also surprised me that when the Mayor and Chief showed up I introduced Mayor Segarra to the group that had been speaking with me and they had never met him before and didn't recognize him.
The original call for the shots fired never did strike a victim apparently. They did hit a car that was in the line of fire and the windshield of the vehicle was hit twice and one round exited through the drivers side window. The outcome could have been much different if the vehicle was occupied, especially if the infant had been in the child seat strapped into the back seat
The same residents that were talking to me, invited me back to their community day and cookout that they have scheduled for next Saturday, definitely a positive side to strengthening their neighborhood.
I had just barely arrived home when the word of Hartford's latest homicide reached me, homicide number 19 for 2011. The victim was shot on his front porch at 67 Oakland Terrace. The victim is being kept alive on a respirator until family members make a decision regarding organ donation. The one shot to the victims head was described by Doctors at Saint Francis Medical Center as a "non-survivable temporal head wound".
I guess the main question is now that we have reached homicide 19, what is being done? Has anyone heard of any "summer initiative" being implemented? Has any of that $500,000 that the Council cut from the Police Budget being re-instated for extra coverage in what many residents who are calling me are now referring to as the "triangle of death"? Should the "election year" driven mill rate cuts instead be channeled back into additional funding to address this violence?
What do I know though? I'm only talking to the residents from the affected areas. I guess we should leave the decision making to the "politicians" who drive by and shout their "hello's".