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New Haven and CAGV host community listening session to address gun violence

The information from the sessions will be used to create a blueprint for the new Office of Violence Prevention.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — New Haven, like many other cities around the country has experienced an uptick in gun violence over the past couple of years.

"Gun violence we know has spiked during the pandemic, we've seen dramatic increases in gun violence in New Haven," said Jeremy Stein executive director of CT Against Gun Violence.

In 2018, the city had 10 homicides, and 50 shooting victims all year. Last year, there were 25 homicides, and more than 100 shooting victims.

"We hear sometimes a sense of hopelessness, we hear frustration, and we hear a lot of fear. People are afraid to let their children play outside," Stein said.

Just this week, State Senator Gary Winfield's New Haven home was hit by gunfire during a shooting.

 A 33-year-old man was shot while walking by. Winfield and his family are okay.

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Residents said it's not hard to find someone in the city who has been affected by gun violence in some way.

"In my work, I lead a program of about 52 community members," said Marquita Taylor of New Haven. "A lot of them have been touched by violence," she said.

RELATED: New Haven using community input to curb gun violence

That is why officials want to hear from the community. Thursday night, a listening session was held for people to talk about their concerns and solutions for the problem.

Led by a partnership between CAGV and the city, the information from the sessions will be used to create a blueprint for the new office of violence prevention.

"Having the input of community members to share their own experience about their own story I think adds not only just a kind of overall color to what's going on but can shed some light on things that folks sitting behind a desk may not have thought about," said Mayor Justin Elicker.

The goal is also to use research from what's worked in other towns and cities. Like more surveillance cameras, which New Haven plans to add hundreds more of in the next few years.

RELATED: Uptick in Hartford homicides results in Gun Control Advocacy organizations looking for change

"We also need to realize that it took years and years and years to get us here and it will take time to see change as well," Taylor said.

The last listening session will be held virtually on April 14th at 6:30 p.m. New Haven residents can sign up here.

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

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