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Hartford police consider instant messaging platform 'Slack' to reduce crimes, violence

As part of a grant received from the federal government, Hartford Police is using new technology to combat gun violence and other crimes.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Hartford police are looking to reduce crime through an instant messaging platform called Slack. 

This comes after the city secured $2 million last year to help reduce gun violence and other crimes. 

The department has been allocated $400,000 to create different channels on Slack and to promote community engagement.

Slack can be used as an app on a phone as well as on a computer's web browser. 

While some are excited to see Hartford police use it, others believe there are better ways to reduce violence in the city. 

"I think it’s a great idea!" said Hartford Neighborhood Activist Hyacinth Yennie.

"It seems like a tremendous waste of money," said Hartford Councilman Josh Michtom. 

Differing views were shared when it comes to the idea. 

A member with Black Lives Matter 860 wishes Hartford officials had asked residents how they felt about it before making a final decision, especially if certain age groups have never heard about it or used it. 

"I do applaud them for making an attempt though it might be misguided. I do hope that maybe that there’s a little more community input," said Ivelisse Correa, a member of BLM 860. 

Though Slack was originally created to be used within workplace settings, it has now expanded to other uses. 

Residents will be able to upload pictures, and videos or message police officers directly which will create a safe space for them to share information.

As someone who has been vocal against crimes in the city, Yennie fully supported this move. 

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"Anything to do with public safety is never a waste of money. As long as it’s put to good use and we can see the result," added Yennie. 

However, Councilman Michtom disagreed. 

"The police already have a three-digit phone number. It’s the most famous phone number in the world. If people aren’t reaching out to them, I don’t think the problem is that they need another way. I think the problem is they don’t want to reach out to the police," added Michtom. 

Right now, the idea is still in its preliminary stage, but once plans are finalized with Slack, Hartford police said they will make an announcement to the public. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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