Citing a memo from the Office of Policy and Management's Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reported 97 murders last year, down from 146 in 2012, and the third lowest point recorded for the state in the last forty years. Governor Malloy attributed the steady reduction in shooting-related crime, in large part, to collaborative law enforcement efforts over the last three years that have led to more effective resource management and crime prevention, increased community policing, outreach and involvement, faster case resolution, and improved information sharing and intelligence gathering.
"Since taking office, my administration has been coordinating with numerous law enforcement agencies to take aggressive steps to reduce crime and restore the public's confidence in the criminal justice system," said Governor Malloy. "All told, the various state criminal justice entities, working closely with federal agencies and local police departments, have made dramatic improvements concerning the safety of our citizens. Our cities and towns are undoubtedly safer than they were five years ago, as evidenced by the dramatic reduction in statewide murders and the reduction of shooting incidents in our urban centers."
"No question, we must remain vigilant," the Governor continued. "In some of our urban centers we have much work to do. But these steady signs of progress are encouraging. I want to thank law enforcement and community leaders for their constant diligence in working toward a solution to this problem."
The memo details the number of murders recorded in Connecticut from 1960 to 2013. While the number of murders in Connecticut has stayed steadily above 100 per year in the past four decades, with a high of 216 in 1994, there have only been fewer than 100 murders in four of those years, including 97 murders in 2013.
The statewide decline in murders is even more significant considering that, compared with 1994 when murders peaked at 216, the number of murders over the last 20 years has fallen 55 percent even though Connecticut's population has continued to grow.
Governor Malloy highlighted several statewide initiatives and partnerships implemented or supported by the state to reduce incidents of murder and non-fatal shootings, especially in Connecticut's three largest urban centers where shooting-related crimes are generally concentrated. These initiatives include but are not limited to "Project Longevity", strengthened gun safety laws, a $3.5 million state investment to community organizations that work to combat youth violence, efforts by law enforcement to focus on violent crimes and illegal guns, and juvenile justice reforms that directly impact young men who might otherwise be gang and violence bound.
An increased awareness about illegal or high risk gun use among the general public has also led to more people seeking help from the police and reporting potential problem situations concerning legal or illegal gun owners with a history of mental illness or those involved in domestic violence incidents. In addition, Governor Malloy pointed to the effectiveness of the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign, which the state re-launched in 2011 to empower Connecticut residents -- especially users of public transportation -- to be alert, monitor their own environment and report suspicious activity in public places. These initiatives, especially efforts by police chiefs to reach out to young people and improve community policing strategies, have helped create more trusting, supportive relationships between community members and law enforcement.
While there is clearly still more work to do in Connecticut's urban centers, significant headway has been made in Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport with substantial reductions in shooting-related crime over a three-year period. Compared with 2011, Connecticut's three largest cities experienced a 30 percent decrease in murders and a 32 percent decrease in non-fatal shooting incidents in 2013.