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Tackling Violent Crime in Greenwich and Beyond

Capitol DisPatch invites readers to weigh in with their ideas about what they would like to see the state government focus on.

This week Capitol DisPatch takes a look at what those newly released statistics concerning violent crime mean and then turns its attention to a recent announcement regarding Bio Science Connecticut. 

One has social ramifications, the other concerns jobs and the state's economy. As always, Capitol DisPatch invites readers to weigh in with their ideas about what they would like to see the state government focus on.

VIOLENT CRIME

Across the nation violent crime is in a downward spiral according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, in some Connecticut cities pockets persist and where they do its youth who are pulling the trigger.

“It’s an empirical fact that these shooting are young, African American boys aged 15 to 25,” said Mike Lawlor, Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning. “They are shooting each other for no apparent reason; for stupid stuff. Sometimes it’s an actual gang, but they are terrorizing these neighborhoods.” 

Halting a hail of bullets doesn’t include what some criminal justice experts call the “stop and frisk” approach. That just fuels the perception that police are the enemy. Rather, police, social workers, and others must confront those responsible for the violence. The word get out that the law will be unleashed – arrest people in gangs and groups for anything – from deadbeat dads to street level drugs.

While that might sounds like generalizing, it’s not, Lawlor said.

“We can narrow it down to a really small list of names and we can tell who the next victim is likely to be or who the next shooter is likely to be,” Lawlor said.

In Fairfield County, the incidents of violent crime continue, albeit at a less frenzied pace than a few years ago, Lawlor said.

Darien had a single incidence of violent crime in that time period; one case of robbery. Fairfield had 35 incidents of violent crime in 2010 including two forcible rapes, 15 robberies and 18 cases of aggravated assault. Greenwich had 33 incidents, including 1 case of forcible rape and 15 cases of robbery. Bridgeport had 1,412 incidents of violent crime including 22 murders and non-negligent manslaughter, 57 cases of forcible rape and 772 incidents of aggravated assault. Norwalk had 343 violent crimes including six murders and 129 robberies.

Law enforcement must consider the uniqueness of each city, Lawlor said. There also must be increased cooperation.

State Rep. Gerald M. Fox III, a Democrat representing Stamford in the 146th House District, couldn’t be reached for comment. Fox is also chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

State Rep. Jason Perillo, a Republican representing Shelton in the 113th House District, said people “should look at the budget implementer bill that actually lessened the penalty for some violent offenses in the interest of saving money... This session was not a win for victims.” 

BIO SCIENCE

The Connecticut Health Center is getting a new roommate of sorts: Jackson Laboratory of Bar Harbor, ME is launching a billion dollar personalized medicine project on the campus of the University of Connecticut Health Center. 

The collaborative effort between the State of Connecticut, the University of Connecticut and Yale University and the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine will work to develop new medical treatments tailored to each patient’s unique genetic makeup.

“Obviously it’s exciting news. This is a very good sign and I only hope a first step,” said state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg a Democrat representing Westport in the 136th House District.

Indeed it is, said Colleen Flanagan, spokeswoman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

“With this announcement, we’ve firmly planted our flag – We are reinventing Connecticut to lead in the 21st century economy,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan said companies are constantly in discussions with the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Malloy Administration.

“And those discussions go both ways – as in the case of Jackson Laboratory, the administration reached out to them,” Flanagan said. “Other companies, upon consideration of moves, expansion or other issues, reach out to DECD.”

Steinberg said the news shows the state is trying to come up with ways to showcase its distinctive advantages and innovation.

State Rep. TR Rowe, a Republican representing Trumbull in the 123rd House District, called the announcement a welcome development.

“I wasn’t expecting it, so it was a pleasant surprise,” Rowe said. 

According to Malloy’s office, the total 20-year capital and research budget for the institute is projected to be $1.1 billion, with Jackson Laboratory providing $809 million through federal research grants, philanthropy and service income, and the State of Connecticut contributing $291 million ($192 million in a secured construction loan and $99 million in research partnership participation). For every dollar the state is spending on this project, Jackson Laboratory will spend $3.

“Without the State of Connecticut’s investment in its Bioscience Connecticut program, which strategically links Storrs, Farmington, New Haven and points in between, we would not have chosen Connecticut for our new Genomic Medicine facility,” Edison T. Liu, M.D., JAX’s president and CEO said in a press release.

Flanagan said the Jackson Laboratory decision will help create, 842 construction jobs, 300 permanent direct jobs in 10 years; 600 permanent direct jobs within 20 years. All together it will help create more than 6,800 permanent jobs, she said.

Rowe said he hopes that’s true.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Rowe said. “I’ll keep my hopes up but expectations moderate. So we should temper our enthusiasm.” 

YOU SAY EMERGENCY, I SAY MAJOR DISASTER…

Find that dictionary: the General Assembly passed an act, effective Oct. 1, to clarify the definition of “emergency” and “major disaster.”

"Attack" means any attack or series of attacks by an enemy of the United States causing, or which may cause, substantial damage or injury to civilian property or persons in the United States in any manner by sabotage or by the use of bombs, shellfire or atomic, radiological, chemical, bacteriological or biological means or other weapons or processes.

"Major disaster" means any catastrophe including, but not limited to, any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm or drought, or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, explosion, or manmade disaster in any part of this state. 

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