New Haven’s 2010 murder count rose to 13 last week amid a wave of recent shootings that has killed one other person and wounded at least five since May 22.
The city’s 13 murders so far this year already surpass the 12 in all of 2009, which saw a record low crime rate.
Police responded early Tuesday morning to an anonymous tip of gunshots heard in Malcolm Court, an apartment complex across from Union Station and just a block away from police headuarters. Officers found Troy Perry, 27, dead from a gunshot wound to the leg, which caused massive blood loss.
Besides Tuesday’s homicide and the city’s 12th this year, which occurred May 22, the five other shootings reported over the past 10 days have been non-fatal, most often striking victims in the leg. Former New Haven Police Chief James Lewis has said the high number of non-fatal shootings in New Haven is the result of a street culture that sees guns as a means of settling even minor disputes.
Police made only one arrest in last week’s spate of shootings, in connection with one that took place on Victory Drive early Tuesday morning. Officers located a van matching the description of a vehicle seen by a witness at the scene of the crime. After a vehicle pursuit, police arrested the van’s driver, Kenneth Cooper, who was found with a gun, nearly $2,600 and a sandwich bag of marijuana. No victim was located.
All of last week’s other shootings, including Tuesday’s homicide, have so far gone unsolved, and only one arrest has been made in the year’s 13 murders.
Since taking his post in April, NHPD Chief Frank Limon has created two police operations in an attempt to reduce the violence, but city budget cuts may hinder those efforts. In April, Limon launched “Operation Corridor,” intended to flood the highest-crime areas, known as the “crime corridor,” with extra police officers — using overtime money to pay for the effort. He also announced the formation of a street interdiction unit to gather intelligence and target career criminals, an effort that police officials said would be aided by hiring new officers.
But New Haven’s fiscal year 2010-’11 budget, passed Thursday night, cuts both police overtime and new police hires. Limon said at May 17 press conference announcing the cuts that they would significanty reduce police response times.
In addition to the recent shootings, there have been at least 10 reports of gunshots heard over the past 10 days, for which police have recovered shell casings in some cases.