Crime Drop Heralded

NHPDPaul Bass PhotoHalf as many New Haveners get shot each year as they did a decade ago, and community policing deserves much of the credit, officials declared Thursday with the release of 2016 year-end crime statistics.

They released the statistics at a press conference held on the third floor of police headquarters. at 1 Union Ave.

Homicides dropped from 15 to 13 from the year before. Robberies with firearms dropped 27 percent, overall robberies 17 percent, aggravated assaults 2.8 percent.

Shootings actually inched up from 63 to 67, and shots fired leaped from 105 to 160. But, the police said, the latter statistics may reflect a tripling in the capacity of the computerized ShotSpotter system that tracks shots fired (including those fired by cops at the range). And the number of shootings has steadily declined in town over the past 13 years: The city saw an average of 126 shootings a year from 2003-2012; for the last four years the number has remained in the 60s.

Over the past five years (a high point used as a benchmark), the number of annual homicides dropped 61 percent, robberies 48.4 percent, burglaries 40.8 percent, and aggravated assaults 29.1 percent.

“Community policing is alive and well in the city of New Haven, and it’s here to stay,” said Interim Police Chief Anthony Campbell. He and Mayor Toni Harp said New Haven has become “a healthier, safer city” thanks to “partnerships” with citizens, clergy, business owners, and other law enforcement agencies.

U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly credited New Haven’s execution of Project Longevity for helping New Haven cut shootings more dramatically than Hartford and Bridgeport did in 2016, even though those cities have the program, too. City, state and federal law enforcement work together in Project Longevity to identify the small number of people responsible for much of the violence in town, and “calls in” gangs or “groups” of them, and offers them a choice between help straightening out their lives, or federal prosecution on charges with stiff prison sentences.  Hartford and Bridgeport each had almost twice as many shootings as New Haven last year, she said.

Assistant Chief Achilles Generoso, who oversees the detective bureau, credited an almost-daily meeting that takes place on the police department’s fourth floor for keeping New Haven ahead of the curve. Four mornings a week, city cops meet in the Compstat room with colleagues from the U.S. attorney’s office, the state’s attorney’s office, other federal agencies like the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, and West Haven and Hamden police to share intelligence and plot strategy.

Over the past year, cops from Gary, Ind.; Birmingham, Ala.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Baltimore, and New York have visited that room to see how New Haven does it, Generoso said. Delegations from Houston and from Portsmouth, Virginia are scheduled to visit in 2017.

“Nowhere in the country is there a collaboration” like New Haven’s, Generoso proclaimed.

New Haven police have in turn learned from the visitors, he said. For instance, they replicated a booklet that Chattanooga presents to individuals who receive one-on-on “call-in”-style visits at home. The booklet includes information on their police record, examples from their intelligence files, a letter from the chief, and surveillance photos, to drive home the choices the individuals face.

“Sixty-seven people being shot in our city is far too many,” Campbell remarked. “One person being shot in our city is far too many.” So police will continue seeking ways to further cut crime, he said.

Generoso said those plans include establishing a “real-time crime center” in a conference room on the third-floor. The department will centralize the intelligence and crime analysis units there, along with equipment that shows camera footage from around town, ShotSpotter reports, and facial-recognition results.

In response to questions from the press, Campbell reaffirmed the department’s “sanctuary city” approach to the immigrant community despite threats by the incoming Trump administration to withhold federal money; and said he hopes to have cops equipped with body cameras by the end of June so the city can qualify for outside government dollars to pay for them. Click on the above video to watch those remarks.

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posted by: BenBerkowitz on January 12, 2017  2:33pm

Kudos to everyone in NHV making this place better! Please keep up the community policing. It is the silver bullet.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on January 12, 2017  2:49pm

hmm all I know is in Cedar Hill we had 4 major shootings in a 6 month time frame…..when we never had major ones. (minor once in a while). So you will not see me celebrating. Our top cop is on it so I will withhold my anger for now.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on January 12, 2017  3:42pm

While everybody’s taking credit for the downturn in homicides, and I do think community policing is a smart policy, I can’t help but think 2011 was simply an outlier year in terms of the number of homicides. Regardless of the policing strategy, it was unlikely to reach those levels again.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on January 12, 2017  4:08pm

Though I always credit police officers for keeping the city streets safe and for doing fine police work.  I’m not fooled in knowing that figures never lie, it’s the people who do the figuring that lie. 

Unfortunately, crime waves are temporal (adj).  In saying that, I find these words by Mayor Harp interesting “Hartford and Bridgeport each had almost twice as many shootings as New Haven last year.”  She uses Hartford and Bridgeport to help sell her argument, but not Greenwich or Guilford. 

Here’s another one that I find interesting “Shootings actually inched up from 63 to 67, and shots fired leaped from 105 to 160. But, the police said, the latter statistics may reflect a tripling in the capacity of the computerized ShotSpotter system that tracks shots fired (including those fired by cops at the range).”  Are we to understand that the computer registers bullets fired at the range as part of the statistics also?  If that were the case, then the numbers would far exceed 105 - 160 by about a minimum of 2,000.  In order for that to be accurate, you would have to have Barney Fife over there practicing with his one bullet.  Every time I’m in the area, I here at least 1-200 rounds fired regularly. 

Let’s see how readily this administration rolls out the statistics when the numbers are inverse.  Moreover, since the good mayor is now in the habit of revealing statistics, reveal how much the city paid Steve Mednick, reveal how much the taxpayers paid the Graduate Club for your Christmas party, reveal how your sending vast amounts of taxpayers money to Matt Nemerson’s Economic Development Corp.  Reveal why you’re not addressing the contracts for the hard workers of 3144, 884, 71, 68 and not to mention the paraprofessionals who you yourself mayor admitted that they were underpaid.  You settled the Teacher Administrators contract (so that you can bolster the numbers at your fundraiser), but not the contract for those on the bottom of the latter.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 12, 2017  4:46pm

Four mornings a week, city cops meet in the Compstat room with colleagues from the U.S. attorney’s office, the state’s attorney’s office, other federal agencies like the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, and West Haven and Hamden police to share intelligence and plot strategy.

Snake-Oil and Three card monte being sold.Give me a break.Community Policing is a superficial diversionary phrase meant to cover up the reality that the heat is on and the cops have backed off and are now gathering intelligence on the city under the guise of making community relationships. Also do not drink the Compstat Kool_Aid.It has Manipulation.

What the CompStat audit reveals about the NYPD

In 2010, they released the results of a survey in which dozens of retired police officials complained that pressure from department brass prompted widespread statistical manipulation of CompStat data, specifically by downgrading reports of serious crimes to less serious offenses.The outside audit released this week not only confirmed that such data manipulation takes place but found several weak points in the ways the department tracks and uncovers it.

posted by: TheMadcap on January 13, 2017  12:06am

“She uses Hartford and Bridgeport to help sell her argument, but not Greenwich or Guilford”

Because it would be absurd

posted by: informed on January 13, 2017  7:37am

The NHI should be ashamed of itself for playing into the fake news trend and writing this story that defies common sense if you actually READ the data. According to the data there was a significant reduction in non-fatal shootings in 2013, the last year of the DeStefano Administration. Since Harp has taken office in 2014, there have been year over year increases. The only numbers that have remained stable are the homicide numbers and I don’t think city officials should be patting themselves on the back because criminals have been bad shots. @BenBerkowitz, don’t you run a data business??? What exactly are you giving kudos for?

posted by: robn on January 13, 2017  9:19am

2011 was a statistical outlier. The premise of this article is overblown.

[Paul: I agree that it’s too convenient that 2011 is always used as the benchmark. I felt they addressed that partly by averaging shootings per year from 2003-2012 and then over the past four years; that’s why that’s the statistic I focused on at the beginning of the story. However, I’m no statistician! Do you think that’s a more relevant stat?]

posted by: alphabravocharlie on January 13, 2017  9:39am

Let’s not discount the effect of Operation Bloodline and the 105 federal indictments of 2012, most of whom are still in prison.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on January 13, 2017  9:56am

Sure do but I appreciate the sarcasm. I’m giving kudos to all of us who live here for the improvement in the City. I don’t disagree that we could do better and I do worry that community policing is at risk of being in the wind. That said, I believe the best way to encourage improvement is through reinforcing the positive. Trying to tie the good or the bad to an administration alone denigrates all of the hard work of the community. 

Also, representation of data is hardly ‘fake news.’

posted by: robn on January 13, 2017  10:20am

The article implies change attributable to a change in policy implemented by the current administration. At a very basic level I would track the crime drop during the previous administration as a separate stat, then track it during the current administration. For each I would then filter out the outliers. Then try to examine milestone events during each period such as the Operation Bloodline event noted in another comment.

posted by: informed on January 13, 2017  10:52am

@BenBerkowitz, no sarcasm was intended. I was indeed genuinely questioning what it was in this data that you thought was worthy of kudos as a DATA guy. I also agree that despite the lack of overall progress, there is great work in the community and on the streets that should always be lauded. Nevertheless context matters. The article that elicited your praise was the result of a press conference called to specifically do what you suggested we shouldn’t, which is “tie the good” to the Harp administration. Is the title “Crime Drop Heralded” lost on you? Is the big picture of Harp calling the city a “safer, calmer place” also lost on you? If so, that would suggest that you are susceptible to political manipulation by the press and therefore in the very category of people who most need to be protected from fake news. Representation of data is not fake news, but blatant MISreprentation of data is the very definition of it.

posted by: JohnDVelleca on January 13, 2017  12:09pm

As the Assistant Chief/Acting Chief of the NHPD in 2011 I can say without hesitation that the crime experienced during that year was anomaly.  I’ve never been one to “ride the numbers” so to speak, but I do think they should be evaluated and considered.  First, while the murder rate garners the most attention, it is usually the least substantial statistic when determining the culture of the community.  In my opinion, a better indication of the quality of life within a specific neighborhood would be the amount of robberies and property crimes a certain area is experiencing.  Those types of incidents are usually more common and at times can lead to more serious offenses, or additional offenses, that begin to degrade an area form the inside out.  For example, a robbery could very well lead to a homicide or assault, and property crimes (larceny/burglary) can certainly fuel the street level drug market.  In other words, those types of offenses seem to be central to the overall rate of crime.  As far as the drop in crime, it’s true that crime is trending downward nationwide.  Also, as Robn stated, the NHPD completed the two largest gang investigations in state history back-to-back (R2/Bloodline), which removed nearly two hundred gang members from the community.  But, the community policing efforts by the NHPD should not be diminished or disregarded.  This city has an exceptional police department that deserves our support and confidence.  Quite frankly, after living the violence of 2011 and seeing it up close, I’m just happy that things are better now. Who really cares were the credit goes?  Let’s try not to be so cynical and just enjoy the fact that, for right now at least, things are pretty good in New Haven.

posted by: Scamp on January 13, 2017  12:12pm

I read this story shortly after it was first published yesterday, before many of these comments had been posted. Upon checking out the comments this morning, I went back and re-read the story, wondering if I’d missed or forgotten details or nuances in my previous reading. A handful of comments make this about “fake news”, arrogance among city officials for taking credit for lower numbers in crime stats, and an arrogant mayor who really shouldn’t claim credit for anything - not even standing upright.

So I re-read the article, and found that credit was given to community policing, partnerships such as Project Longevity, and other consistent and collaborative efforts between the NHPD and the New Haven Community.  @informed and @robn, I don’t see your pro-Harp anti-DeStefano bias, either implicitly or explicitly in any of these points. @Brian L. Jenkins, you imply that this press conference only took place because the news is good (“let’s see how readily this administration rolls out the statistics when the numbers are inverse”...Are you seriously hoping for an uptick in violence against New Haveners so you can be proven correct?!). These press conferences are actually an annual event, and they take place all over the country, as well as at state and federal levels. They also take place whether the stats are good or bad. You clearly have a number of grievances with the mayor, but twisting this particular issue like a pretzel to make your points has the (presumably) unintended effect of obscuring them.

I guess this divining of tea leaves into judgments against the Mayor and her appointees are what we have to look forward to in an election year; I’m just not sure that blaming her for EVERY grievance is the best way to argue in favor of replacing her. It plays into the nauseating political rancor that characterized the November 2016 elections, and makes so many people check out of the vitally important processes of democracy.

posted by: robn on January 13, 2017  1:37pm


Headline “Crime Drop Heralded”
Top line photo of the Mayor

Those two things set the tone of the article and far overshadow the details.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on January 13, 2017  5:39pm

@ Scamp,

“{Are you seriously hoping for an uptick in violence against New Haveners so you can be proven correct?!).”  How ridiculous of a statement is that? 

Contrary to your inability to grasp the understanding of the nucleus of my words, my point was to convey a figurative behavioral pattern.  Again, I’m a humanitarian ... which means for your perusal, that the senseless death of anyone diminishes me as a human being because we all are inextricably bound to one another. 

Now allow me to further substantiate my point in the event you’re still struggling to acknowledge my premise.  My father was murdered on the streets of New Haven, and his absence had a detrimental affect on my entire family especially for my four brothers and I.  If that doesn’t help you see the empirical aspect of my point, then maybe Clifford Beers can.  (Smile)

posted by: 1644 on January 13, 2017  9:20pm

While the headline isn’t wrong: the mayor did herald a drop in crime, that drop is non-existent.  The whole truth would be “Non-existent Drop in Crime Heralded,”  or “Crime Steady, Lower than Comparable Communities.”  New Haven should be proud of its police.  They are keeping crime relatively low without being a beat-down posse doing unconstitutional stops.  Instead, they are using community to policing to gather intelligence in the bodegas and barbershops to stop crime before it occurs.  NHI has done regular stories on how great the beat cops are, attuned to their environment to prevent crime.  Moreover, the cops often do it without the gun play so common in other departments.  It a good contrast with Branford, Milford, and Easton, all of whom have had cops killed citizens even though the cops’ lives were not in danger, and, in the case of Easton and Branford, faced little or no discipline.

posted by: Greg-Morehead on January 14, 2017  1:52am

How can this news be “Heralded”? Is this from the City that I live in? This baffles me on where this information is coming from…Sorry, forgot that some people get to ride around town with Security and don’t experience “walking” around in certain areas…So, yeah, Crime is down within the 4 walls of a car and building….

posted by: Fairhavener on January 14, 2017  7:27am

Lost on no one should be that this is the presser that unofficially starts Mayor Harp’s 2017 campaign. Take all the credit, and none of the blame, hmmm…where have I seen that strategy used recently?

posted by: Inside 165 on January 14, 2017  9:06am


The answer to your question about stats is NO.  The reason for this is it is not clear what Harp is comparing when choosing her numbers.

The reality is when she, and most other pols, wants to take credit for crime stats it is only when they appear favorable.

The numbers show that post Esserman’s arrival in 2011 murders, shootings etc. have decreased. So if anyone gets credit it would be Esserman and DeStefano. Believe me that was not an easy compliment to type. Harp could use 2013 stats and compare to the first year of her leadership if she wanted to wave the flag of victory with a realistic comparison that coincides with a city leadership change.

More realistically since they have these press conferences annually what should be used is the previous year but the reality is those comparisons are not that impressive and one could say we are losing ground in some areas. Of course expanding beyond the bubble of New Haven to contiguous and more relevant other urban markets the crime stats in New Haven may be more impressive and realistic to tout a safer city.

In the end Harp has nothing to do with the ever changing tide of crime stats. It’s PD leadership and more importantly the cops on the beat from a pure police impact perspective.  Harp like to continually put forward the false narrative that somehow she was instrumental in bringing community policing to New Haven and that we do something that is exclusively New Haven. Many communities do it in similar fashion to us and if you really research the record from back in the day you will find Harps embellishments to be just that. The press just likes to keep regurgitating them. sime communities don’t do anything like it also but they’re crime is down like most of the countries.

BTW I agree for the most part with Velleca.

posted by: Bill Saunders on January 16, 2017  2:01pm

We hardly ever get to see our Mayor.  Everybody should be happy to know that she is still here…...