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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Contradictions of Connecticut - The Pocket State

For cities its size, Stamford is a very safe place. How safe? Safe enough to be the 9th safest city in the country. And, what's more:

Stamford was the second safest among 26 cities in the Northeast with populations of at least 100,000, trailing only the town of Amherst, N.Y. Bridgeport ranked 25th and Hartford ranked 26th among Northeast cities in that category.

But all is not rosy even in Stamford:

Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy said he was pleased with the ranking but said the police department faces a new challenge in keeping Stamford among the elite during a budget crisis.

"How do you continue to do that in light of the resources?" Malloy said. "We're all scratching our heads over that question."

The department has cut overtime spending, taken officers out of the detective bureau and reduced the number of on-duty patrol officers to cope with budget cuts slated for 2007-08.

The city's violent crime rate has climbed five years in a row, including double-digit percentage increases in 2005 and 2006, city records show.

Police responded to 393 violent crimes last year, up from 353 in 2005 and 305 in 2004 - a 29 percent increase over two years.

The increase outpaced the nationwide jump in violent crime over the last two years. Violent crime in the United States increased by 2.3 percent in 2005 and 1.3 percent last year after declining consistently for nearly a decade.

Experts have blamed the trend on declining federal aid to police departments and rising youth violence.


Well, there are problems - and then there are problems. Would Mayor Malloy swap his problems for Hartford's? Or Bridgeport's?

Stamford was the second safest among 26 cities in the Northeast with populations of at least 100,000, trailing only the town of Amherst, N.Y. Bridgeport ranked 25th and Hartford ranked 26th among Northeast cities in that category.


In case you're wondering, New Haven typically doesn't report numbers to the FBI. They are perhaps too busy at the moment subverting Federal law by legitimizing illegal immigration. Whatever your views on that, what does this teach the next generation about lawlessness? I frankly find it disturbing. And, to even ask the question about how many crimes are being committed by illegal immigrants is to invite accusations of racism and xenophobia.

More to the point, what does it say about us as a people that Connecticut is the Pocket State - a pocket of money here, a pocket of poverty there, a pocket of safety here, and pocket of real danger there? How long can this be a viable model?

I could have linked to stories about the crime in Hartford (four killings in one weekend) but I don't know which one to pick.

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