Adrian Kulesza

New Haven witnessed seven murders this year. Six of those occurred in the summer months alone.

A rise in crime during these months is not uncommon in a given year. Just last Tuesday, as the school year drew near and summer came to a close, two teenagers — one aged 18 and the other 15 — were injured in a shooting.

On Aug. 27, New Haven Police Department officers responded to a report of gunfire at 6:34 p.m. at the intersection between State Street and May Street, located between the neighborhoods of Fair Haven and East Rock. Upon arriving on the scene, the officers canvassed and located two gunshot victims at the scene.

One 18-year-old male victim suffered a graze wound. The other victim, a 15-year-old male, sustained a gunshot wound. The two were transported to the Yale-New Haven Hospital, and their injuries were not determined to be life-threatening, according to a New Haven Police Department release from that night. An investigation was opened into the incident.

Mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer told the News that he could not comment on the incident due to the NHPD’s ongoing investigation.

NHPD spokesperson Sgt. Shayna Kendall also said she could not give any further information about the recent shootings.

Since Jan. 1, New Haven has seen 49 assaults with firearms and seven murder victim. Six occurred in the summer months and three took place from May 20 to June 16 alone, according to the New Haven Police Department weekly crime report. Comparatively, in 2018, New Haven’s end-of-year total was 50 gun assaults and 10 murders.

Leonard Jahad, director of the New Haven Street Outreach Worker program — a team of four that forms close relationships with youths and stages interventions to prevent crime — said that he thinks crime spikes in the summer due to the heat. He said the sunny weather drives people out of their homes and into communities during both the day and the night.

“More interaction leads to spikes in conflicts — people just can’t seem to play nicely,” Jahad told the News. “Kids are also out of school and there are fewer structured activities for them to participate.”

He stressed the importance of getting ahead of the incidents and addressing the perpetrators of the violence to reduce crime.

“Until a violent suspect is arrested or at the very least addressed, they will usually continue their behavior,” he said.

Over the past decade, the city has enacted many initiatives that target youth violence, including the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative grant to fund nonprofit organizations that work directly with youth. In 2014, the city began Youth Stat, a data driven intervention program that takes in students at high risk for school disengagement or criminal justice involvement. The program pairs youth with necessary services, including tutoring and mental health treatment.

The New Haven Police Department is located at 1 Union Ave.

Sammy Westfall | sammy.westfall@yale.edu