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Friday, July 15, 2011


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".


Anonymous said...

Hey R JO did a drive by just like they did on Oakland Terrace but her's didn't result in a death of a resident but maybe the death of her political career.

Anonymous said...

I know a simple inexpensive way to clean up these places. Require the chief and Mayor to live in the worst sections. I have a feeling they'd be cleaned up real quick...

Bruce Rubenstein said...

Kevin....Hartford's 19 homicides correspond to Waterbury,with almost the same population and their muder rate this year so far is "0".

It is clear that Pastor Brown's "vigil's dont work and are merely feel good enterprises for politicians and himself and I would urge him to utilize some new strategy.One good strategy would be to urge citizens to get a gun permit and buy a gun for home defense.

Secondly, it is plain to me that none of the politicians and especially the Mayor and Council understand the deep trouble we are in about violence and only offer platitudes for remediation.The police force are way understaffed and undertrained.The Mayor and Council seem inept to handle violence in Hartford and maybe after more murders the state will step in and do the work that the political class in Hartford couldnt or wouldnt do.



I have to disagree. What measure are you using to guage the effectiveness of Rev. Brown? He at least is keeping the issue of violence in the forefront, and I think it could be far worse if each homicide was just a 3 sentence story in the newspaper. If Henry Brown affects just one person, I think he is being successful. And that is with no money thrown at him by the City.

Now if you want to guage the effectiveness of what the City is doing, or more appropriately NOT DOING, then I think that is fair. There is no summer initiative, no leadership and what seems like no concern over the soaring homicide rate, other than the window dressing being put forth for the media.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they were at Jazzfest because Jazzfest is going on? Just a hunch. Why criticize a Pastor and his efforts when he is a community leader that really doesn't have to be out there anyway? Are you involved in your community? And Kevin...Did you correct them when they referred to you as a Politician or is that what you are now? I was under the impression that you are a blogger that happens to be running for council. Maybe some people have to be reminded that Hartford or some areas in Hartford is not Mayberry. When you take into consideration the socioeconomic classes in certain neighborhoods, poverty, unemployment rates, etc. 19 murders will come with that. Everything is tied together. So trying to say that it is the Mayors fault or the Police Chiefs fault is absurd. If you want to ask, "What are you doing about?" then that is more realistic and reasonable. But don't be someone that is going to be an opportunist just like every other "politician." I thought you were better than that?

And my city doesn't need anymore of that. By the way, Hartford and Waterbury is apples and oranges. Get real!!

RB said...

There you have it! Residents will talk to you, but not the Police. The police can't stop crime without the help of residents. As for as the Politicians,

"Wringing your hands prevents you from rollling up your sleeves"

Anonymous said...

How about all the good cops who recently transferred to smaller towns that have better pay and less BS to deal with. No matter how many cops you put through the academy, cops are leaving Hartford and going to smaller towns with higher pay. If this new Police Contract isn't fair for all the crazy nonstop work that we do. I know at least 30 cops that are talking about leaving Hartford.

Bruce Rubenstein said...

Kevibn...dont get me wrong,I like Rev Brown, I just think the vigil's are "old" and ineffective.I gauge it on the fact that 1. the murder rate has increased and more importantly 2. the Mayor and Council have done little to nothing in effectively ending r remediating this violence problem.Until the violence is dealt with,folks wont want to move into Hartford or walk around Hartford at night.

Rev Brown would be more effective having his group do something else that has a chance of working.Vigils have produced little.

J. Stan McCauley said...

Bruce I must also disagree with your assessment of Rev. Brown. It is not something that you can analyze from the outside. You have to attend one of his "Community" vigils and then I'm sure your understanding will be much different.

Anonymous said...

And maybe 1 or 2 of those 30 cops will actually leave, people like to talk a lot of BS but how many will actually do it, HPD doesn't have the solidarity it once had.

Anonymous said...

RE: July 16, 2011 9:00 PM

First off none of those that left had been here long enough to refer to them as good cops. Yes many of them may have turned out to be good cops but with less then a couple of years here you cant call yourself a GOOD COP yet. That title like many other has to be earned.

On another note that attitude of "well working in Hartford is good until I can get another job" is part of the problem. If this job is not good enough for you then don't take it from someone who may really want it for the right reasons. What ever happened to making a commitment to the City and people who hired you on your word. From what I remember that Oath you took did not include anything about protecting the persons and property of Hartford only until someone offers you better money, benefits or working conditions.

Yes, I understand that people have bills to pay and mouths to feed but you know what... If your taking this job for the money then you should not take it at all. This a great Department with a storied history and a position that should be looked at with HONOR and PRIDE.

There really needs to be changes to the law and or cert process to no longer make this acceptable. Maybe then people will be coming to Cities like Hartford for the RIGHT reasons and staying long enough repay the City that hired them by being committed to doing the job they were hired to do. Then and only then will they be able to call themselves good cops... At least in the eye of those that matter. The ones that already hold that honored title.

Bruce Rubenstein said... I said I like Rev Brown, but tell me what the vigils have actually produced other then folks feeling good about attending.The Mayor and Council have put the city at risk by doing nothing about crime,especially violent crime and the blame for the murders rests with them,with blood on their hands.Rev Brown would do better for his folks and us,the citizens of Hartford, by urging them for a top down change of elected officials.

peter brush said...

The Mayor and Council have put the city at risk by doing nothing about crime,especially violent crime and the blame for the murders rests with them,with blood on their hands.
I spent the weekend out on Martha's Vineyard with the Cosmopolitan BEautiful People. Very good politicians out there; sanctimonious, environmentalist, white liberals with Obama stickers on their suvs; no homicides.
Here, the homicides are a real yawn. If guys want to march in the streets they should feel free. What bothers me is the apparent low morale in the cop department. Not that I expect them to prevent crime, but I do want them to be as effective as possible in arresting the bad guys and sending them back to their homeland (i.e., prison).