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New Haven holds first call-in for Project Safe Neighborhood since pandemic started

This program helps those getting out of prison, which can be an extremely difficult transition.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Mayor Justin Elicker, The New Haven Police Department and the Department of Justice are working together to launch the first call-in for Project Safe Neighborhood since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

Since the pandemic struck our state, there has been a significant uptick in violent crime.

"In 2020, we saw an increase in violence that we hadn't seen in probably the past decade, where our shootings and our nonfatal shootings and our homicides were up from years past" says New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez.

The uptick in violence was the springboard to re-launch Project Safe Neighborhoods. This program is a facet of a National initiative that works to reduce gun violence and promote safer communities. This program helps those getting out of prison, which can be an extremely difficult transition.

"Having a felony doesn't prevent you from getting a job but many people think that they think there's no other alternatives but to go back to what they used to do" said Reentry & Community Outreach Coordinator, US State’s Attorney’s Office Holly Wasilewski.

Through this difficult transition, Project Safe Neighborhood helps provide resources to these individuals, to encourage them to put their best foot forward and move on from their prior mistakes.

Mayor Justin Elicker said "Over 900 individuals come back to New Haven every year from prison and historically people have been dropped off with basically a good luck".

This initiative works to combat gun violence by informing incarcerated individuals being released, the risks of joining street gangs, the consequences of possessing illegal firearms, and the dangers of committing acts of violence.

Assistant State's Attorney Lisa D'Angelo said "Project safe neighborhoods is a mechanism to bridge that gap and to provide services and support to as many individuals as possible returning home to New Haven".

This initiative also places emphasis on working with local leaders and faith based communities, to provide job assistance and educational programming resources as well.

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