December 17th, 2009 | News, University

Forum on gun violence gets heated

Outrage and discord flared up in City Hall’s aldermanic chambers Wednesday evening at a forum that was meant to be a solution-oriented conversation about gun violence.

Many of the more than 100 New Haven residents in attendance were there to express concern about the four homicides that have occurred in the city in the past two weeks.

The Board of Aldermen hearing, hosted by the the Christian Community Commission’s Brotherhood Leadership Summit, started off with a heated question-and-answer session among a panel of pastors and city officials that included Ward 3 Alderwoman Jacqueline James-Evans. Attorney Michael Jefferson moderated the panel, speaking about the “emotional issue of gun violence” and asking panel members both for their views on the city’s crime levels and for potential solutions, including curfews in certain neighborhoods and mandatory sentences for certain crimes.

“Don’t expect the answer tomorrow,” panelist and state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield said.

Some audience members said they were disappointed by what they called the city’s lack of response to the recent uptick in crime, while others said parents and educators should be held most responsible for reducing crime.

“Why won’t Yale pay for [crime-prevention programs]?” a young man asked the audience, earning cheers in response.

Five attendees interviewed said they thought the forum was a good idea but that what matters most are the actions city officials decide to take afterward.

“I see a problem,” 47-year-old social worker Carlah Esdaile-Biragg said about crime in New Haven. “I heard a lot of solutions tonight, but what’s going to be the follow-up?”

Attendees were also given data complied by the planet on all of the gun violence-related crime that has occurred in New Haven since 2006.

According to the Institute for Social Development Inc., a New Haven-based social services organization, as of Dec. 11, 11 out of the 13 homicides that have occurred in New Haven this year were linked to guns. (The other two were the Annie Le murder and the Nov. 28 stabbing at Sinergy Club on Crown Street.) All 11 gun violence victims were black, and over 90 percent came from predominantly black neighborhoods, were shot after 9 p.m. and had criminal records.

The 11 gun-related homicides that have occurred in New Haven so far this year have cost the city $8.8 million in medical expenses, according to Social Development Inc.

  • Big DS

    $8.8 million for 11 homicide victims??? I smell B.S. here. I mean a good number of these victims were DOA. How the hell are we supposed to believe this crap? If it’s true, than we just found the REAL health care crisis in this country. Millions spent on dead ex-felons! News at 11.

  • CitizenQ

    Great article. Looks like a Gun Prohibition Sign would do the trick. Visit

  • society ill

    8.8 million paid for the health care of felons. So if we’re paying for thier health care now, why do we need a health care bill? Bet Handgun Control Inc. uses all 11 of these murders in thier count of “children” killed by gun violence to skew the statistics in thier anti-gun campaign. Violent little felons, with illegal weapons, who go to court and are treated as youthful offenders. Handgun possesion is the first charge to be dropped in court. Thier community, family and friends refuse to cooperate with the police even when they know what these “youths” are up to. All in all the ones who should be outraged are the law abiding taxpayers. Our rights will be stripped and pockets picked yet again for actions we cannot control. The community really needs to look at itself and quit turning a blind eye to the problem of crime. Until they start policing themselves and taking personal responsibility nothing will change.

  • lol

    NO, THE 8.8 MILLION doesn’t go to felons. it went to the victims of shootings. there IS a difference, pals.

  • odd justice

    Let’s see, the article states all 11 homicide victims were black with criminal records. So ex-felons it is then. 8.8 million dollars went towards the medical expenses of these “victims”. I would assume they ran afoul of some of the other local felons and reprobates who roam the streets of New Haven. So millions spent on 11 indivuduals, who probably cost true innocent victims even more during thier careers. There is a difference between an innocent victim and thugs settling scores. If we’re paying for thier health care now, why do we need a National Healthcare Plan? Just one more way to buy the votes of the dregs of society. Too bad the 8 million didn’t go to local schools, children, young mothers and the elderly.

  • anon

    the 8 mil was partly made up of payments for victims? And the perpetrators and victims were mostly felons involved in what, gang, drug or personal disputes, supposedly?

    What is to stop them from getting together to make a pact to shot the other to collect the victim resitution funds?

    Is that why shots are aimed at the ankles/legs so often in New Haven?

    Wait, those restition funds are taxed as it is. Families of homicide victims are waiting for compensation last I heard. So what is the $8 million figure. Could use some more detail.

  • DSeu

    Japan’s history is a histroy of disasters. I am not sure about huge and extensive reforms but it will definitely come out stronger. Any economy that has a strong financial capital and human capital base, like Japan, it comes back stronger after a large scale shock. The immediate area around the nuclear reactor may not be coming back so quickly but there will be movement of people, new factories or an industry structural/geographical reform will take place.

  • myinspectiontags

    efforts should be made to reduce gun violence.