Law enforcement and city leaders in Hartford, Connecticut say the first year of their anti-violence task force has proven successful. The Hartford Shooting Task Force is a collaboration between several police departments, prosecutors offices, and victims organization. Len Boyle, the state’s deputy chief attorney, says the task force has multiplied the number of investigators and detectives available to look into violent crimes, while also increasing penalties. Boyle says he thinks the strategy is working because the task force focuses on the small number of people who commit the highest percentage of violent crimes.
“And by targeting those people, we are able, I think, to deter some of them, who realize now that the heat is on, and also to generally deter that sort of conduct, particularly on the part of younger people. Because if it is seen that when you engage in a drive-by shooting, the police respond aggressively, it sends a message that law enforcement is in control, and it, I think, influences people’s behavior.”
There were eleven fewer shooting deaths in Hartford in a 12-month period that ended in July than in the previous period, and other gun crimes decreased as well. Boyle says the next goal among law enforcement officials is to engage community members more closely in efforts to stop violence.