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New Haven police taking steps to improve their poor murder solve rate

As of Jan. 1, Waterbury's solve rate for 2021 homicides was 100%. Bridgeport was at 63%. Hartford nearly 60%. New Haven, meanwhile, checked in at 12%.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The New Haven Police Department has been under scrutiny as of late, specifically for their solve rate of homicides. But, in an update Thursday, the Mayor and police officials laid out a plan they say will certainly help.

The big headline about a month ago was that the New Haven Police Department had made arrests in just three of last year's 25 homicides. But those assembled at police headquarters Thursday afternoon looked forward to progress.

In December, the New Haven Board Of Alders granted approval for the City to purchase 500 surveillance cameras to help the police department's homicide solve rate. The city is still conducting an infrastructure assessment to see where they can be placed. 

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"In conversations that we have had with our counterparts in Bridgeport and Hartford, whose solve rates are higher, they say that nearly all of their homicides are solved with the assistance of their camera system," said Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven).

The City of New Haven currently owns nearly 200 surveillance cameras, which pales in comparison to Hartford's 1,200 and Bridgeport's 1,600.

As of Jan. 1, Waterbury's solve rate for 2021 homicides was 100%. Bridgeport was at 63%. Hartford nearly 60%. New Haven, meanwhile, checked in at 12%.

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Elicker says that soon adding more detectives will also bring a boost. Currently, only 37 of the 54 budgeted detectives positions are occupied.

"The detective test has been completed and we’re looking to the civil service to certify the list this month and then move forward with promotions," said Elicker.

Police say another key component is more community involvement, which was front and center during Thursday's press conference.

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Acting Chief Renee Dominguez announced that the community stepping forward was a major factor in the murder arrest of 37-year-old Michael Holmes. He is charged with killing Curtis McCray, a New Haven father of five, in October of 2019.

"If he had $20, he was gonna give it to somebody," said the victim's mother, Angela McCray. "He would always get my money and say 'mom, mom we need some money he’s on the street.' He was always there to help someone."

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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