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Group-related violence increasing in Hartford

There have been at least 7 shootings in the last week, police said many recent incidents appear to be connected.

HARTFORD, Conn — Hartford leaders are trying to break a cycle of violence happening in the city right now.

"What we have seen over the last couple of weeks is an example of group-related retaliatory cycles," said Mayor Luke Bronin.

Officials said these groups are made up of people who know each other, and often times, known to police.

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"That gives us the advantage of going out there and really trying to impact what they're doing and that could be attaching unrelated criminal charges, it could be violating them on parole and probation but we will do everything within our power," said Hartford police chief Jason Thody.

Police said up until this point, many of the shootings in the city this year have been the result of personal disputes, which are more difficult to prevent.

However, because there is a retaliatory element to the recent crime, police are trying to get in front of it.

"The violence we are seeing right now is targeted. It is not random acts of violence that makes it no less traumatic and no less devastating to the community but it's important to recognize that what we're seeing right now is back and forth acts of violence," Bronin said.

Gun violence affects more than just the people directly involved though.

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"There are the victims that are in the hospital recovering from their physical wounds. There are the neighbors who are hearing gunshots and who are scared. There are the families of those that are grieving and hurt," said Jackie Santiago Nazario, CEO of the Compass Youth Collaborative.

The group is constantly working to build relationships with the community so that in times of crisis like we're seeing now, they are a trusted group people can go to. Known for their orange shirts, they call themselves Peace Builders. They spend time in Hartford's neighborhoods doing their part to try to end the cycle.

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"A lot of them are victims of violence and they're becoming perpetrators now. A lot of them are just afraid now," said Diego Lopez, a team leader.

Officials said the community also plays a role in preventing violence, which is why they are urging anyone with information to come forward. You can do so anonymously by calling (860) 722-TIPS (8477)

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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