Dwight and West River residents gathered Tuesday night to learn about the state of neighborhood crime and infrastructure at a meeting of the Dwight/West River Central Management Team.
Police officers, store managers and alders gave short presentations to the roughly 30 people who attended the meeting at Amistad Academy. At the meeting, police officers gave updates on recent crime developments as well as progress in providing body cameras to the Yale police force. The New Haven Department of Public Works then addressed community members’ concerns about the upkeep of sidewalks and roads.
Sgt. Stephan Torquati, district manager for Dwight and West River, said the area is continuing to have an outstanding year. But his force still has concerns — the actions of some Waverly Townhouses residents have resulted in some crime-related complaints, he said.
Torquati said his team is working with the intelligence and detective divisions to reduce crime in the area, especially after a recent double shooting at the intersection of George and Orchard streets.
“That spot is a continual pain for everyone, except for the folks who live in the general area,” he said. “We don’t get a lot of calls for service from people who live there.”
Part of the difficulty in combating crime in the area is a lack of manpower on the force, Torquati said. He said he only has two officers for the whole district at night. But that dearth of officers may soon be alleviated: Torquati said he has requested four new officers from the next graduating class at the New Haven Police Academy.
Lt. Brian Logan of the Yale Police Department agreed with Torquati, saying crime in the area has been low over recent months.
“From our perspective, this has been a very quiet fall so far,” he said. “We’re continuing to put extra manpower on Howe Street and Dwight Street, and it seems to have a positive effect on our numbers, and hopefully it has a residual effect on this neighborhood.”
In response to a question from an attendee about body cameras, Torquati said the force will welcome cameras on officers. He described body cameras as a “new tool” and compared them to the institution of Miranda warnings in the 1960s.
Logan — who wore a body camera at the meeting — said the rollout of the cameras in the YPD has proceeded smoothly so far. Still, he said it may take time for officers to adjust to the cameras, which they often forget to turn on manually.
Later in the meeting, the attendees heard a short presentation from Jeff Pescosolido, director of the New Haven Department of Public Works. He said the department is entering its last two months of sidewalk repair before shutting down for the winter. He said in the meantime, residents should submit complaints and concerns to the city via SeeClickFix, an online incident reporting website.
Pescosolido said improving sidewalks can save the city money, as broken sidewalks can lead to lawsuits against the city if pedestrians fall and hurt themselves. He added that handicapped residents, especially, can benefit from improved sidewalks.
The department is also concerned about the approaching snow season, Pescosolido said.
“We’re preparing again for snow season,” he said. “There are some streets in this neighborhood where parking is difficult for residents — we understand that — and it makes it difficult for DPW staff to remove snow.”
Other infrastructure issues have also been on the minds of neighborhood residents. West River Alder Tyisha Walker said she has heard complaints from residents about the parking situation in the neighborhood. In response to these complaints, the Board of Alders is now drafting a new parking ordinance, she said.
The Dwight Central Management Team will host its annual Fall Festival on Oct. 24.