Reducing violence is, and will remain, New Haven’s number one public safety goal. In 2012, there were 50% fewer homicides and 30% fewer non-fatal shootings than there were in 2011. While we are glad that the numbers are going in the right direction, we know that much more needs to be done and we are doing it.
To effectively address gun violence in New Haven, we have to look at the nature of the violence experienced here. Gun violence can be generally separated into three categories. The first and far most common is the type that New Haven experiences: gang and drug related shootings. Second, there’s armed robberies and domestic violence; third are the mass shootings like Newtown. All types of gun violence are tragic and need to be addressed—all of them.
Shootings here in New Haven tend be committed with hand guns that do not carry a lot of ammunition; so an assault weapon ban would not necessarily help New Haven reduce its gun violence. However, there are gun law changes that we can work for that will help our city.
The changes that would directly deal with gun violence in New Haven include:
• the creation of a Gun Offender Registry. People caught using or having unregistered guns will be put on a special registry and will be required to check in with law enforcement at regular intervals. The public would not have access to the names on the registry, but those on the registry will be known to all local police who will keep an eye on them and be able to check in on them.
• stricter gun licensing and purchasing standards.
• licensing requirements for ammunition purchases.
I am working at both the state and federal level (through the National League of Cities and the US Conference of Mayors) to work for the enactment of this legislation. Last Wednesday, I had a phone meeting with Vice President Biden to ensure that President Obama’s Gun Task Force includes measures that will address gun violence as it is experienced in urban areas such as New Haven.
We are doing much more than working on stricter gun laws to reduce violence. We are engaged in preventative work through the Street Outreach Workers and by supporting youth programs that provide our young people with the skills, options and support that lessen the chance that they will turn to crime; rehabilitative work through our Re-Entry services and punitively, by getting tough on violent offenders through the NHPD’s Shooting Task Force and Project Longevity.
Martin Luther King Jr.
In order to honor the life, work and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., please consider volunteering and getting involved in efforts to make our community even better. Reach out to one of the non-profits in New Haven whose work you feel is important or consider one of the volunteer opportunities listed below.
“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968
Volunteer Opportunity Point in Time Homeless Count
Every year, a census of the homeless in the New Haven area is done during the last week in January. This year, the count will take place on Tuesday, January 29th from 5 pm to 11pm (inclement weather date is Thursday, January 31st).
Volunteers will receive an orientation and light dinner and then go out in groups of 4-5 to survey homeless individuals, family and youth in the New Haven area.
This work helps collect data that is vital to understanding the dynamic causes of homelessness and to evaluate the effectiveness of programs serving the homeless.
To volunteer, sign up here:
Volunteer Opportunity Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Make a real difference in the lives of low-income working families and senior citizens living on fixed incomes by helping them claim every tax credit they qualify for, preparing their return & e-filing it for free - saving them money.
For more information:
To sign up to volunteer, contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203) 946-8605
Sibling Preference for New Haven Public School Students
New Haven Public Schools has announced a new sibling preference policy for school enrollment that will help keep families together in school.
The new sibling preference policy gives top preference to siblings who live in the designated attendance (neighborhood) zone of a school and it applies to magnet, charter and neighborhood schools. The idea for the change was born out of discussions by the Board of Education and the volunteer Redistricting Committee, as well as public input from parents who advocated for sibling preference. This is an example of parents getting involved and having a real impact on education.
In the past, New Haven offered preference to students who live in the designated neighborhood zone of a school. The change underscores the school district's commitment to giving priority to families wishing to have their children enrolled together in their assigned school. Magnet School applications became available to the public on Jan. 2. The deadline for turning in the application is Feb. 15.
Families can learn more about the new policies and get valuable information about schools at the upcoming Magnet School Fairs. The Citywide Magnet School Fair will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 9 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, 480 Sherman Parkway (Next to Hillhouse High School). The Inter-District Magnet School Fair will be from 12 to 2 p.m. on Jan. 12 at Hill Regional Career High School, 140 Legion Ave.
Due to the seat limitations, there is no guarantee that any child will be placed in a particular school, even with the new policy in place. However, the lottery process is designed to give preference both to students residing within the attendance zone of a school and to those applicants that already have a brother or sister currently attending that school at the time of the application. To receive the sibling preference, the brother or sister must also live in the same household and have the same parents or legal guardian as the applicant. If a sibling applicant is not placed due to seat limitations, the preference will carry over for priority on the waiting list in the order of preferences listed below. Assignment to any New Haven Public School will adhere to the following priority sequence of preferences:
1. Siblings of current students who also live within the attendance (neighborhood) zone of that school (Neighborhood and Sibling Preference);
2. Non-sibling students living within the attendance zone of that school
(Neighborhood Preference Only);
3. Siblings of current students that live outside the attendance zone of that school
(Sibling Preference Only);
4. Non-sibling students living outside the attendance zone of that school (No Preference).
Another new change in policy for this year will be that families should include all of their children on the same application. Assignment of these multi-child applications will follow the priority sequences listed above, so that if one sibling is admitted, the other siblings will be given preference for seats available at that point of the lottery.
Families can find their child's attendance zone (formerly called neighborhood zone), by visiting