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Connecticut state leaders across the aisle respond to new crime statistics for 2021

Overall the state shows a 2.82% decrease in total crimes from 2020 to 2021.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Monday, the state released its annual Crime in Connecticut report for 2021.

Major highlights include violent crime down over by 9.04%, robbery down 5.96% and aggravated assault at the lowest it's been in 10 years, down 16.76%.

Officials say this new report is not entirely complete. While local departments in the state have fully reported, they’re lacking on the federal side as the FBI has not released its numbers yet.

Overall, the state shows a 2.82% decrease in total index crimes.

While Gov. Ned Lamont says that’s good news for Connecticut, state Republicans aren’t convinced.

RELATED: Murders up slightly, most property crimes down per Connecticut's annual crime report

“These numbers show a positive trend,” Lamont said. “I think it’s a testament to one of the best police forces in the world right here in Connecticut.”

This new report suggests overall crime dropped 30% in the last decade. 

There were a few increases–murder up 2.04%, with three additional victims from 2020, and rape up 23.20%, a difference of 148.

Officials say they believe this has to do with a rise in victim reporting and are investigating.

“Reporting for a victim of sexual assault is not only difficult than its onset, but it's also difficult a month or three months down the road for those folks,” said James Rovella, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

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State officials say a focus on community policing has been the catalyst for decreases in crime, but Republicans disagree.

Lamont’s gubernatorial challenger Bob Stefanowski said in a statement, “These statistics are largely a year or more old, including when the state was dealing with COVID. Unfortunately for Gov. Lamont, the people of CT aren’t stupid and they’re not blind. You only need to turn on your nightly news, open a newspaper, or talk with your neighbors to know crime in CT is a problem and a growing threat to communities all across our state due to policies that have handcuffed and scapegoated our police and made it harder for them to do their jobs.”

Connecticut State House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-Durham) said, “The most troubling aspects of the annual crime report released today are these: the Connecticut State Police force is down 360 trooper positions, and, CSP and our local police forces cannot recruit qualified people because of the handcuffs the majority Democrats have placed on our public safety personnel. The Democrats have put the rights of criminals ahead of our police personnel when it comes to qualified immunity and other policy changes they have enacted in the last few years, and have exposed our sworn officers to unprecedented liability that has caused many to alter their procedures. Many police officers will tell you privately that they are now reluctant to engage in pursuits when it comes to motor vehicle issues, for instance, and that our neighbors and friends often do not officially report driveway break-ins and other crimes. Those are just the realities that this report does not reflect. Ask your neighbors and friends if they feel safer today, despite what this report says, after the majority party has decriminalized some offenses, emptied out state prisons, lessened penalties and altered bail requirements in recent years. Moving the goal posts may make for better outcomes in mandated reports six weeks before an election but it doesn’t make us any safer.”

The State Senate also speaking up. Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and Senate Republican Leader Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) released the following statement:

“Far too many families do not feel safe in Connecticut today, and violence and crime remain a crisis in communities across our state. New Haven just had its deadliest year in a decade. Last week, Hartford marked its 28th homicide, which puts the city on track to have the highest homicide rate in 19 years. The data released today on rape is alarming and demands immediate attention. More people are speeding on our roads, traffic fatalities have increased, there were over 1,500 more car thefts in 2021 than in 2019, and police recruitment is a major issue. Not discussed at today's press conference, but clear in the data released, is the fact that unsolved criminal cases in Connecticut are rising. The percentage of unsolved cases rose 8.6% from 2019 to 2021. For violent offenses, including murder and rape, the percentage of unsolved cases stands at 59%. The numbers are even higher for property offenses with 87% of crimes unsolved, and nearly 92% of motor vehicle thefts unsolved. While a bill was passed this year that begins to address the symptoms of crime in Connecticut, it failed to address the root causes. Connecticut must do more to prevent crime, support young people and families, and enable law enforcement to do their jobs. We continue to advocate for a holistic approach to address crime, justice, and opportunity in our state. That’s what we heard when we met with advocates, law enforcement, community leaders, and public defenders across Connecticut.  And that’s what Senate Republicans put forward in our comprehensive plan for a Better Way to a Safer Connecticut. We must not only improve crime response, but we must also address the root causes of crime related to education, opportunity, trauma, housing and jobs. We must support law enforcement, address recruitment, and ensure there is proactive policing in partnership with the community in every town and city.”

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“What you see in terms of recruitment is a nationwide phenomenon, and not even just limited to police but delivering, you know, first responders in general,” Lamont said Tuesday, “but I'm always happy to tweak and improve what we're doing.”

Officials say there is a shortage of police, with over 360 retirements leaving them about 25 to 30 troopers short.

When asked about the Police Accountability Law, Lamont said he is willing to talk to the legislature about it.

Emma Wulfhorst is a political reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at ewulfhorst@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


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