Correction: A graphic that initially ran with this story displayed the wrong 2013 homicide figures for Hartford and Bridgeport. The correct figures for last year should be: 23 homicides in Hartford and 13 homicides in Bridgeport.
Connecticut has had a dramatic drop in homicides since 2011, leading to the lowest number of homicides since 2001, according to data recorded by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
In 2013, there were 97 homicides, down from 146 in 2012 (a number inflated by the 27 homicides in Newtown) and 129 in 2011. Much of the decline is in the three biggest cities — Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport — where homicides have been nearly cut in half since 2011.
In a memo to the governor, the state’s undersecretary for criminal justice, policy, and planning, Michael Lawlor, attributed the decline to stronger gun safety laws and programs that reach young men at risk of being involved in violent crimes, among other factors. The number of nonfatal shootings also dropped significantly in the big three cities — especially in New Haven, where shootings have been reduced by more than half since 2011.
One program Lawlor mentioned in his memo is Project Longevity, an effort to identify the gangs in these communities who are responsible for gun violence and reach out to them. The project began in New Haven last year, and it’s being implemented in Hartford and Bridgeport this year. The Hartford project manager, Tiana Hercules, said 23 groups were identified last fall after an analysis of 19 months of evidence. Lawlor’s memo also boasts of a 10-year low in statewide arrests, down to 94,856.