Hartford mayor announces new violence prevention efforts – NBC Connecticut

On Monday, Hartford Mayor Arunan Arulampalam announced the establishment of the Office of Violence Prevention and introduced its director, Chavon Campbell.

The office will be tasked with identifying people who might be at risk of committing a crime and helping to prevent it.

“Prevention is all about more of a holistic approach,” Campbell said. “Before we get into the situation where someone is harmed by violence, how do we figured out how to get ahead of it?”

The announcement comes weeks after an armed civilian patrol started making rounds in the North End.

“Community policing has to happen with the police involved,” Arulampalam said. “Those are rogued actors that don’t involve the police.”

Violence in the city has North End residents like Donna Smith worried.

“You never know if you’re going to be safe or not,” the 68-year-old said. “I could walk out my door today and don’t even know if I’m going to come back to it.”

But not everyone agrees that armed civilian patrols are the solution.

“In many ways, these things aren’t addressing those issues,” Will Moffett said. “I’m very familiar with the people who are behind it. I respect them, but I feel like in many ways it creates a sense of paranoia.”

The Greater Hartford African American Alliance (GHAAA) hosted a press conference about the armed group just moments before the mayor’s announcement.

“They don’t create safe communities and from what we have heard, it’s not what the community wants,” J. Stan McCauley, president of the GHAAA, said. “We believe that we need to work with our police department in coming up with strategies that put more police officers in this community.”

“They should be covering every block,” Smith said. “I just would really like to see if it gets better, because it’s just too much. Too much violence.”

The city says the office is open, but Campbell is the only employee. The mayor said it was important to have the office open during the announcement and that their next steps are focusing on the structure of the office.

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