#Bridgeport CT (June 30, 2015 Press Release) – Mayor Bill Finch today announced the Police Department is instituting walking beats in the city’s four public housing complexes and expanding its Safe Corridors program in the area of Trumbull Gardens to enhance safety for kids and families.
“Bridgeport today is safer than it has been in about 40 years, but we can and must do more,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “That’s why we are initiating walking beats in our public housing complexes. Our officers will be out there every day — talking with residents, building better relationships and keeping our kids safe. It’s not just community policing. This is smart policing.”
In addition, the city is expanding its Safe Corridors program to add approximately 10 cameras around schools near Trumbull Gardens.
Safe Corridors is designed to ensure kids get to and from school safely through additional patrols by school resource officers and community volunteers at the beginning and end of the school day and through technology.
“This is a layered approach to safety through police, volunteers and cameras. The cameras are monitored throughout the school day in our command center, and they record 24-hours a day,” said Jorge Garcia, the city’s Director of Public Facilities. “In the event of an incident, police have immediate access to the footage.”
Security cameras have been invaluable in investigations, said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr.
“We’ve identified suspects and solved crimes using video from businesses, private homes, schools and police department cameras,” said Chief Gaudett. “The cameras not only help our detectives solve crimes but they serve as a deterrent to crime as well. The new cameras around Trumbull Gardens will make the community safer.”
The department continues to expand its capacity to use technology in investigations. Last year, the department sent detectives for specialized FBI training in the Digital Imaging Video Recovery (DIVRT) system, which allows detectives to efficiently retrieve video from public and private security systems so it can be quickly disseminated to the public.
That initiative has solved a number of serious crimes, including the April 11 killing of Jose Salgado in his store.
Overall, the police department crime’s reduction strategy has led to a 30 percent reduction in crime since 2007. That has been achieved through an aggressive focus on violent and gang-related crimes; data-driven policing through crime analysis; investment in technology, continued collaboration with state and federal law enforcement partners; community engagement and continued investment to provide officers with the tools they need to do their jobs.
When compared to other cities our size in New England, Bridgeport has seen the sharpest decline of any city in crime over the last 30 years. That includes New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Worcester, Providence, and Springfield.
“We can all see the reduction in crime through statistics but more importantly I see it when I walk in our neighborhoods with my kids,” said Mayor Finch. “I see kids playing outside and in our parks. Whether on Main Street or East Main Street, I see people strolling and shopping and talking with their neighbors.”
The new, high-visibility walking beats will operate in properties run by Park City Communities, the city’s Housing Authority. The beats will run between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. in Trumbull Gardens, Charles F. Greene Homes, P.T. Barnum and Marina Village.
These are additional beats that will supplement regular patrols.
According to Chief Gaudett, similar beats funded through the Housing Authority in 2013 were extremely effective and popular with residents.
“I think kids enjoyed some one-on-one time with the officers – and I think the officers enjoy it too,” said Gaudett. “And, it made everyone feel safer.”
The commanders have created walking details in other neighborhoods to address community concerns and quality of life issues.
On a daily basis, the department’s crime analysis unit tracks and maps violent and property crime, providing a snapshot that can flag emerging trends in real time so the department can respond. Every week, department supervisors meet at COMPSTAT to develop data-driven strategies. The department’s three area commanders are empowered with the flexibility to shift resources inside their sectors to suppress emerging issues.
The department also has aggressively targeted gun and gang violence. In addition to the gun buyback program, which took more in more than 1,000 firearms, the police seized 208 firearms between June 2014 and May 2015.
The Bridgeport-based Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force — a joint task force comprised of members of Bridgeport police, the Connecticut State Police and Department of Corrections – had been key in those efforts.
The goal of the task force is to identify and target violence related to firearms in the city of Bridgeport. The task force develops gang intelligence in a variety of ways, including through extensive contacts in the community and through social media.
Also, last year Bridgeport police partnered with the ATF and New Haven police in Operation Samson, an intelligence-led undercover operation that led to approximately 80 arrests and the seizure of 73 illegal guns in the two cities.
Most recently, the task force seized five guns, including a sniper rifle and two illegal assault weapons, which police believe were going to be sold to a drug dealer by an addict.
“I support initiatives like Project Longevity. If people want to change their lives, we want to help them make positive choices,” said Mayor Finch. “But police will be relentless in tracking down people who choose to tear down their community through violence.”
Mayor Finch also announced efforts to provide new equipment that will protect both police officers and the public.
The department has applied for a federal grant to equip police officers with body-mounted cameras. It also is seeking funding to purchase a driving simulator for police, which allows trainers to control driving conditions and create realistic scenarios.
It allows instructors to correct mistakes in a safe, classroom setting.
“Police officers receive ongoing firearm certification and training with the Taser,” said Chief Gaudett. “But no officers receive motor vehicle training after the police academy. In Bridgeport, we want to change that. It makes everyone safer.”
Alcalde Bill Finch anunció hoy el Departamento de Policía está instituyendo latidos caminar en cuatro complejos de vivienda pública de la ciudad y la ampliación de su programa de seguros corredores en el área de Trumbull Gardens para mejorar la seguridad para los niños y las familias.
“Bridgeport hoy es más seguro de lo que ha sido en unos 40 años, pero puede y debe hacer más”, dijo el alcalde Bill Finch. “Es por eso que estamos iniciando latidos caminar en nuestros complejos de vivienda pública. Nuestros agentes estarán por ahí todos los días – hablando con los residentes, la construcción de mejores relaciones y mantener a nuestros niños seguros. No es sólo la policía comunitaria. Esta es la vigilancia inteligente “.
Además, la ciudad está ampliando su programa Safe Pasillos para agregar aproximadamente 10 cámaras alrededor de las escuelas cercanas a Trumbull Gardens.
Corredores de seguridad está diseñado para asegurar los niños llegan a la escuela con seguridad mediante patrullas adicionales de oficiales de recursos escolares y voluntarios de la comunidad al principio y al final de la jornada escolar y mediante la tecnología.
“Este es un enfoque por capas a la seguridad a través de la policía, voluntarios y cámaras. Las cámaras son monitoreadas durante la jornada escolar en nuestro centro de mando, y graban las 24 horas del día “, dijo Jorge García, Director de la ciudad de Establecimientos Públicos. “En el caso de un incidente, la policía tiene acceso inmediato a las imágenes.”
Las cámaras de seguridad han sido invaluables en las investigaciones, dijo el jefe de policía José L. Gaudett Jr.
“Hemos identificado sospechosos y casos resueltos utilizando el vídeo de negocios, casas particulares, escuelas y cámaras del departamento de policía”, dijo el jefe de Gaudett. “Las cámaras no sólo ayudan a nuestros detectives a resolver crímenes, sino que sirven como elemento de disuasión a la delincuencia, así. Las nuevas cámaras alrededor de Trumbull Gardens harán la comunidad más segura “.
El departamento continúa ampliando su capacidad de utilizar la tecnología en las investigaciones. El año pasado, el departamento envió detectives de formación especializada del FBI en el sistema de digitalización de imágenes de vídeo de recuperación (DIVRT), que permite a los detectives para recuperar de manera eficiente el vídeo de los sistemas de seguridad pública y privada para que pueda ser difundida rápidamente al público.