A 2010 crime breakdown shows 23 of the city’s 24 homicide victims were black. One was Latino. None were white.
Why was that?
Police Chief Frank Limon and Mayor John DeStefano were asked that question Wednesday at an annual crime data press conference at 1 Union Ave.
They announced that murders rose from 12 to 24 from 2009 to 2010. Twenty-two victims were black males, one a black female, and one Hispanic male.
Of 124 non-fatal shooting victims, 99 were black men; seven were black females; seven Hispanic males; one Hispanic female; eight white males; one white female; and 1 “other male.”
In 2009, almost all the city’s 12 homicide victims were black (11 black males, 1 black female). Yale University graduate student Annie Le is not included in the total because her death occurred on the Yale campus.
The number of non-fatal shooting victims dropped from 149 to 124 from 2009 to 2010. Once the entire year’s other statistics are fully audited, they will probably reveal a slight decrease in overall violent crime, DeStefano said.
Click here to view the entire set of statistics released Wednesday. Some of the statistics cover only the first nine months of the year because final audits are pending; the homicide stats are complete.
When asked about the reason for the glaring racial disparity in homicide victims, DeStefano responded that “the greater correlation is the reentry population,” meaning that a high percentage of people caught up in gun violence have returned to the streets from prison.
Chief Limon said “geography” explains the disparity.
“Most of our violence is in an area of the the city. Obviously there are neighborhoods that make up the city in terms of race,” he said.
He noted that one of those prime areas is Newhallville. A seven-month investigation by local cops and the feds led to the arrests of 37 people in Newhallville on gun and drug charges—and, Limon said Wednesday, the dismantling of the notorious “R2” gang.
He also noted that 46 percent of the year’s homicides occurred in the first four months. The department launched an intensive “Operation Corridor” in the most violence-plagued areas in the second quarter—and saw shootings drop 55 percent, according to the chief.
The past year has seen demonstrations and memorial gatherings in response to shootings take place primarily in the black community. (See a video clip at the top of this story.)
DeStefano was also asked if he thinks officials would receive more pressure to stop killings if white people were dying, too.
“The city as a whole is actively conscious in terms of homicides,” he responded. He said he sees a bigger difference in the pressure New Haven receives from the outside based on who gets killed, citing the intense international round-the-clock coverage of the 2009 murder of Yale student Annie Le.
In remarks after the press conference, DeStefano cited a difference in the way people react to urban and suburban murders, too.
“The  Cheshire homicides were awful and terrible,” he said. “We’ve had something like 65 homicides since. The public consciousness of the three versus the 65 is much greater. People can draw their own conclusions” as to why.
(Click here for the perspective of one homicide victim’s mom.)
Jefferson: Self-Hatred Plays Role
Asked the same questions in a conversation following the press conference, civil-rights attorney Michael Jefferson (pictured) identified attitudes in the black community as a source of the disparity.
“There’s a great deal of self-hatred within the black community,” Jefferson said. “It’s not something we like to talk about. But it exists. There’s this false sense of inferiority that permeates our community and our people.
“Black life is not valued to the same degree that white life is valued in this society. I think that plays a major role in black-on-black violence. That certainly impacts how we view each other.
“Thirdly, I think there’s a great deal of dysfunction. That primarily rests with the fact that the black male does not receive the type of positive guidance that he should receive from other black males. I’m talking about the young black male in particular.” (Jefferson has founded an organization called The Kiyama Movement to address that.)
Jefferson said he has “no question in my mind” that if the city had “the same type of fratricide going in the white community, the response would be different. White life is viewed differently in our culture.”:
Service Cuts Coming
Looking ahead to 2011, Chief Limon said he has plans to work with local ministers, federal agencies and the city’s school system on a host of crime-prevention efforts, including one targeting teens joining or at risk of joining gangs.
DeStefano warned that the police department, like all city agencies, faces cutbacks this year because of a budget crisis. The current fiscal year’s budget gap suddenly jumped from $8 million to $11 million because of a change in the schedule by which the state plans to reimburse New Haven for school construction projects. The upcoming fiscal year’s project budget gap stands at $52 million, DeStefano said.
People may experience longer response to non-emergency calls as a result of the cutbacks, DeStefano warned.
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posted by: Queen on January 12, 2011 5:33pm
This is very disturbing.
posted by: #corrections on January 12, 2011 5:48pm
in 2009, all the city’s 12 homicide victims were black (11 males, 1 female).
Annie Le was Vietnamese or Vietnamese-American, no?
[Editor: For some reason, Yale murders are not included in official New Haven statistics.]
posted by: FIX THE SCHOOLS on January 12, 2011 5:50pm
It would be so much more productive if instead of framing events by skin color, we looked deeper. That is not to say that skin color is irrelvant due to the historic legacy of racism. However we can’t stop at race.
The young men who were killed and who did the killing besides being black, were former felons and/or prisoners. They were under-educated. Because they were under-educated, they had in their lives very few options to rise out of poverty; they had very little support systems and not enough role models (as Mr. Jefferson said); It is THESE factors that are most important if we are to begin to solve the problem.
Why not immediately begin in earnest and with urgency to allow every black child in New Haven to attend a GREAT school? This is what our government promises but fails to deliver. And it is this broken promise that should cause us all to be outraged.
Create an education system unlike what we know now. If we make it capable of breaking the cycle of generational poverty we will create life options for everyone - and the murder and crime rate will plummet over time.
But the key is to imagine something entirely different from our schools….
posted by: robn on January 12, 2011 6:13pm
If, in East Rock, a teenager rode his motorcycle into a van and then his friends beat the van driver almost to death as happened in the 2008 Quinell Payne incident in Newhalville, East Rockers wouldn’t keep silent as that neighborhood did…they would carry the assailants to the police station. That’s the difference and that’s the problem.
posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on January 12, 2011 6:26pm
“In 2009, all the city’s 12 homicide victims were black (11 males, 1 female).”
What about Annie Le?
posted by: anon on January 12, 2011 6:28pm
Should not come as a surprise - trends are pretty much similar everywhere in the United States. Look at the prison populations, lack of economic activity within certain geographic areas, etc.
The main reason for this is that money is taken from the poor (e.g., payroll tax) in order to subsidize the lifestyles and housing of our nation’s wealthy (e.g., mortgage interest deductions). Poor workers pay much higher tax rates than Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.
posted by: cba on January 12, 2011 6:37pm
The real issue in these statistics is who are the perpetrators of these crimes. They should be identified and prosecuted vigorously to protect all communities, and politicians should cease their posturings !!!
posted by: rsmith on January 12, 2011 7:14pm
And the community still insists on “no snitchin”???? Michael’s views are interesting and probably have some truth to them. In all honesty, this is a problem for the black community to address. Until it begins to do so, everyone else will just take the attitude that “they’re just killing themselves so why should I care?”
posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on January 12, 2011 8:24pm
To answer the question as to “why none of the people being murdered are white.” The answer is simple, BECAUSE NONE OF THE PEOPLE BEING MURDERED WERE WHITE.! To those that would ask such a asinine question, I have a question for you. Would you have felt better if half of the individuals who were killed, were white? One murdered child white or black should have received this same type of concern. I have said repeatedly, the fact that there are absolutely no prevention programs, no recreational programs, a major decline in after school programs, no apprenticeship programs leads to in my opinion an increase in the murder rate amongst young black men. At the risk of being redundant, I believe that until we replace these programs, we will unfortunately be confronted with this scourge again. The mayor has once again proven that he is completely bereft of any ideas as it relates to young people, in his city. Instead of him introducing a citywide youth prevention initiative, he talks about young people who are being released from prison as the cause of the plethora of problems. He just doesn’t get it!
posted by: Just a thought on January 12, 2011 8:31pm
Instead of the black community leaders preaching on the corners or in front of stores or sites where there was a homicide..folks like jefferson and blango should go to the grammer schools and high schools and dedicate their efforts toward the younger generation in the black community…get a gymnasium filled with students during school time and educate them while they are there.maybe bring their parents in also..and keep at it.
posted by: amedat on January 12, 2011 9:01pm
I agree with “fix the schools.”
If we continue to frame the issue as one singularly linked to race, geography or prison re-entry policy, we will never be able to articulate a solution. Moreso, implement one.
Sorry, Mayor D, but your focus is awfully myopic for a big-vision guy like yourself. Economics/Education play a much larger role, thus, the problem cannot be left to solely to the black community to fix.
On a slightly related note, it is quite easy for those who don’t live in these neighborhoods to assail the no-snitching philosophy. If you grow up in an environment where the cops don’t know you, your family, anything about the neighborhood, don’t live in the neighborhood and don’t regard you highly AND aren’t afraid to demonstrate that, you are not likely to run down to the police station or call to provide them with any intelligence.
Why,Who knows where the cop’s allegiance lies? You can’t solely fault residents for their distrust when there are bad actors in the department. The likes of Billy White, et al, engender very little trust from poor communities. When’s the last time you had to worry about some low-life harming you or your family because you snitched?
posted by: Sunday on January 13, 2011 12:35am
We are forgetting one thing. Who gave birth to these kids? It were there parents so I belive the buck start and end there. You carried that child for (NINE MONTHS)so the responsibility is yours.I have a problem with other people making excuses for other people kids on why they, did or didn’t do something. I believe we need more parenting classes when a woman become pregnant. Why wait until the child become a problem and then try to train it.Most kids personality are formed between the ages of (6 to 10)years old. By the time they are 16 and 18 it’s a little to late. I must say it don’t take two parents to raise a child only nice if you have that “back-up”. Why don’t you take a look at crime/kids that have two parents. All it takes is a loving, understanding parent that can communicate and know their kids but is willing to discipline it when necessary. Lots of single parents have raised “GOOD KIDS”. I tired of the “TALKING POINTS” because nothing has been done for the pass twenty years and another twenty years it will be the same thing, unless we come up with a serious game changer. The only things that will be different is the people, the date and the year. So with good planning “just maybe this statement will not be true in (TWENTY YEARS”.
posted by: whocares on January 13, 2011 1:13am
Yeah…why is that. We need to have more white people murdered. Can’t have this black on black crime.
posted by: Distressed on January 13, 2011 3:45am
Yes, there needs to be more after-school programs; the mayor can do more; community leaders NEED to do more. Pastors NEED to OPEN their churches to those who need help and support. They need to create programs and services that make a positive difference in their communities. Service agencies need to be more proactive, and schools need to teach more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Above all, parents need to be present, capable and committed to being effective parents; learn how. Ask for help; there are those willing to help you to become better parents.
The Black community NEEDS to WORK on itself. Stop waiting for “society” to do something. Maybe if society saw more meaningful effort and less complaining and blaming, the rest of society would be more willing to care and invest. Why is it so hard for the Black community to face some of its own demons? Physician, heal thyself. It is possible.
When blacks had a lot less, they cared about each other more. Interestingly, if a white boy kill a black boy, there are many who would be shouting in the streets for justice. A black boy kill a black boy or girl, and there is mourning, but where is the energy and outrage to get to the bottom of it and to stop the self-hate? Many in the Black community don’t even want to talk to the police. They will not hand over the shooter. Why then is there outrage at the police when they do not look too hard to find him? It is always easier to point the finger of blame elsewhere.
The most effective answers to the many problems that plague the Black community can be found within that same community. People need to be willing to look directly at the problems, to pull together and WORK REALLY HARD to solve them. To find the enemy—look in the mirror. Don’t waste your time lambasting this writer; I am NOT the enemy. Physician - heal thyself.
posted by: robn on January 13, 2011 10:04am
Its not “snitching” or “ratting out”. Its reporting a crime. If you don’t do it, then you bring more crime upon yourself plain and simple.
To answer your question about “when’s the last time…”; not so long ago I had my head broken open defending somebody being harassed by a gang. It stunk but under the same circumstances, I’d probably do it again.
posted by: hispanics on January 13, 2011 10:22am
I think that, while black males are receiving by far the worst of the violence, it would be a mistake to think that no latinos were getting killed. However, if undocumented immigrants are killed, there is a much lower chance that someone will come forward about it. Unless the body is discovered, the police will never know that a murder occurred. I’m sure this goes not only for undocumented immigrants, but also for other people keeping a low profile from the law. Unfortunately, I think our murder rate is probably much higher than 24, and that there were likely some victims who were not black males- they just didn’t get counted.
posted by: anon on January 13, 2011 10:53am
We don’t need more school spending or police spending to solve this issue. Instead clean up the piles of litter, graffiti and broken glass that covers streets, parks, trashy corner stores and other places that people gather. Fix the abandoned buildings. Stop the cars from speeding and running into parked vehicles and buildings every day. If we pay attention to these basic issues, people will actually feel like investing their time and effort in the city. Jobs will return and there won’t be as many problems. For the price of one police officer we could employ 10 kids to be helping to clean up their neighborhoods and run activities. The basic things in life are by far the most important, and what set a tone for other behaviors.
posted by: OnceCatholic on January 13, 2011 1:20pm
One of the most curious aspects of this whole story is that the figures were announced at a news conference that was scheduled DURING a snow emergency! I did not see, or hear, any comments taken directly from the event and can only assume that none of the local media could get there safely. Coincidence?
[Editor’s note: The Independent was there at the event, along with other reporters.]
posted by: Unreal on January 13, 2011 1:30pm
Unreal, the issue is not how whites view blacks. The real issue is UNFIT PARENTS.
posted by: citizen on January 13, 2011 1:48pm
OMG How stupid to say white people were not among those who were killed what matters here Black or White they are human beings and my heart is with all those poor families that lost their child wake up people.
posted by: Ex-NHPD on January 13, 2011 2:09pm
Numbers don’t lie; the people making the numbers lie. The murder of Annie Le occurred in New Haven. The Mayor and the NHPD can spin it any way they want; but until Yale University becomes their own town or city (or country), what happens at Yale happens in New Haven. If a murder, or any other crime, occurs at SCSU, will NHPD and City Hall consider that not in New Haven?
You can probably then theorize that all crimes reported by SCSU, Albertus, Gateway, and Yale do not get included with the crime stats for New Haven. Not that they are significant numbers; but they are crimes occurring in New Haven. Colleges and Universities are required to report their crime numbers to the Feds. Does the fact that they are reporting these to the Feds allow New Haven (and possibly other cites/towns) to think they can ignore those crimes for their own reporting?
Look at the track record of Police Departments across the country that begin to use the NYPD “Compstat” model for addressing crime issues and patterns. Many of those departments begin to experience problems with bogus reporting of crime stats—-Felonies getting reclassified to misdemeanors. Often robberies and burglaries get downgraded to larcenies. Serious assaults become simple assaults. These fudgings usually occur for two reasons. The first is because the Supervisors in charge of the divisions/neighborhoods are crucified, publicly, in the “Compstat” meeting, if their crime numbers go up and they do not have an answer to solve it. (the cops could be doing all they can, but all it takes is one or two recently released career criminals, not rehabilitated, going back to their skill-set, to run amok in a neighborhood to destroy a district’s stats) The other scenario is when departments and/or municipalities want to toot their horns that they have turned around the crime problem.
Keep this in mind as “Nationwide search” Chief Limon begins his infatuation with Colonel Dean Esserman of the Providence (R.I.) PD. Esserman, a former Assistant Chief at NHPD, had adopted the Compstat Model in Providence. The NHPD Brass will be heading out there to watch a Providence meeting. If it is put in place at NHPD, replacing TASCA (which is “Compstat-Lite), what will happen to the stats?
The bottom line is that Crime Stats do not tell the whole picture of what is happening in a district or city. But, the numbers are the numbers. Unless you shade/fudge/spin/change the numbers. Remember, this is the same city that in the past has tried to claim that when a homicide is cleared with an arrest for manslaughter, it does not count as a homicide.
posted by: Kris on January 13, 2011 10:34pm
OK, so we know know by reading the story that none of the people killed were white but can someone tell me how many of the killers were white?(dont count Ray Cark cause we cant count Annie Le) So now we are gonna be mad cause white people aren’tkilling each other on average of once a month? Can you imagine if all these victims families did half of the good things that Dr.Petit did after his family was killled. And the other difference is his wife/kids were not “just starting to turn their life around” and they didn’t have criminal records,they didn’t run the streets in the past or do anything to put themselves in harms way as most of the new haven victims did. How many victims were truely innocent victims,maybe one or two? As far as white murders getting more attention goes…how many rallies and how much coverage was there when the two white kids got killed outside the strip club in new haven by the black guy a couple years ago? Not much that I recall. And if there has been 25 murders than that means there has been 25 rallies…guess what…they’re not working so try something else. Trade the bullhorn and be a role model for these kids
posted by: kamb on January 14, 2011 12:50pm
Nome Alaska has a similar problem. All of their murder victims were white. Maybe we can ask them why no blacks were killed and we can get an answer to our problem here in New Haven.
posted by: M on January 14, 2011 3:39pm
I said this months ago but I will say it again. Kids are shooting and killing each other in Newhallville and other neighborhoods of New Haven everyday and our mayor doesn’t increase police patrols in those areas BUT as soon as they shoot at each other downtown he creates “Operation Nightlife” and put hundreds of extra officers downtown. There are several factors contributing to the violence in New Haven but an increase in police presence is certainly a deterrent. The mayor and the police chief know this, yet they chose to only increase the number police DOWNTOWN instead of the neighborhoods that are most affected by the problem.
posted by: F. on January 14, 2011 7:48pm
posted by: NewHavenRessident on January 15, 2011 4:46pm
Bravo to the New Haven Indy for framing the article in this way, it definitely caught our attention. My two cents: Simply stating “geography” or prison recidivism or policing explains nothing. there are economic roots to this. We live in a de facto apartheid society here in Connecticut and particularly in NH—though it’s a class divide, this is the USA so it is obviously largely color-delineated. Compare the blacks’ unemployment rate, poverty rate, school drop-out etc. with the non-whites. It’s on a level mindboggling in comparison, El Salvador and Uganda don’t have anything on us! The massive inequality of wealth with not a single grocery store while the Yalies and Downtowners swarm designer stores and restaurants. There are no damn jobs for working families like there were back in the day, even for graduates, a low quality of schooling, increasing insecurity, there is decreasing state support for communities… it’s an all around disaster. How do we create high quality schooling, health care and employment opportunities for New Haven? Telling people “heal thyself” is like telling a drowning man to take swimming lessons. We have to be clear what is beyond the hands of the Mayor and the Police Chief and what’s not. Obviously as Jefferson and the other commentators show, there ARE things they can do given the current problems in Newhallville etc.
posted by: Mom of 3 year old on January 15, 2011 10:58pm
(sigh) In a roundabout way, people have theorized it’s the school’s fault. Under educated, can’t climb out of poverty because of it… Do you know why so many of these young men are under educated? Because they didn’t give a damn in school. Their parent(s) didn’t place any value on education, so the boys didn’t place any value on it either. You only have to look at Wilbur Cross and Hillhouse to see the truth of my words. Things to do? You can offer any number of opportunities, the plain fact is, the programs are historically under attended and fall by the wayside. Until the parent(s) begin to parent, things will not change. I hear tonight a young man of 14 was killed Friday night. He was riding his bike at midnight. When I was 14, I can promise you I was not allowed to be out at midnight, never mind riding my bike. Until things like that change, this stat gets worse, not better.
posted by: Lynda Faye Wilson on January 17, 2011 8:28pm
ALERT, ALERT, ALERT To my New Haven Neighbors of the most impovished areas of this city. Be on close ALERT for death totals in this MODEL-CITY of ours. With the statement from the Mayors’of future budget-cuts and the prespective responce to non-emergencies. I know for a fact that what may appear or sound like a non-emergency call can very well be an emergency, resulting in either LIFE-THREATENING or POSSIBLE DEATH situation.
Kudos “Mom of three year old”—we need your help—-Thanks for the post—-together we can make it better—Tom
posted by: Facts on February 4, 2011 1:59am
Fact 24 murders in New Haven in 2010. None of the victims were white. 22 Black males, 1 Black female and 1 Hispanic male. Anti violence/ brutality rallies should be held within the Black communities. It seems as if the violence and brutality is coming from within. In 2009 there were 12 murders in New Haven that numbered doubled for 2010. This mentality of no snitching and looking the other way at drug deals on your corner won’ t ever end the violence. Nor will a rally at police headquarters. Take responsibility talk your neighbors and stop harboring the thugs and the gangs and the drugs within your block.