Adrian Kuleza, Staff Photographer

On Monday, the New Haven Police Department provided an update on violent crime statistics and its plan to install 500 new surveillance cameras around the city.

The city saw its first and second homicide cases of the year in March and made 10 gun-related arrests for incidents occurring between July 2020 and late March of this year. In response to violent crime and the department’s difficulties locating perpetrators, Mayor Justin Elicker’s administration has spearheaded a plan with NHPD to place 500 surveillance cameras around the city. After the Board of Alders approved the plan in December, the city has picked a contractor but has yet to offer a timeline for the program’s implementation.

“Having the additional cameras to the city, it’ll be a little bit easier to begin to have these first steps in the investigation and instead of losing some of that valuable time in the beginning,” Acting Police Chief Renee Dominguez said. “We’re still going to reach out to the community and still look around businesses in the area because we never know what other angle they would be getting. But the ability to have these cameras look back after an incident right here in the install center is going to give valuable information to the officers on the street who are responding and the detectives who are following up on the investigation.”

The city has picked Hamden-based company Utility Communication to be the surveillance camera contractor. According to Elicker, the two parties have yet to sign a formal contract because the city is still working on the contract’s language.

The city does not have a timeline for the 500 surveillance camera placement — nor does it plan to make one. On Monday, Elicker said the cameras will go out in batches.

“Because I don’t want an article every other week saying that we’re behind our timeline, and there’s not a timeline, we will work as best we can,” Elicker said.

According to Dominguez, it’s going to be “probably many years” before all the cameras are installed.

City leaders also disclosed crime statistics for the year. So far, the city has seen 18 nonfatal shootings and two homicides, seized 54 guns and made 49 gun-related arrests. In comparison, this time last year, the city had seen 21 nonfatal shootings and nine homicides, seized 46 guns and made 49 gun-related arrests, according to Dominguez.

Dominguez and Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson said that most of those incidents are affiliated with a “group or gang.”

According to a press release sent out by NHPD public information officer Scott Shumway, one of the two homicide victims for the year was Keiron Jones, a 17-year-old junior at Hillhouse High School. Jones was struck by gunfire on Orchard Place, between Orchard Street and Charles Street on March 20. He was remembered as “a great, mild-mannered kid. Never disrespectful. [And] responded to adults appropriately,” by Hillhouse’s staff community care coordinator Darrell Brown in a New Haven Independent article.

When asked for an update on the investigation, Dominguez said it’s an active investigation and detectives are working very hard. But the department has often struggled to solve cases in a timely manner. Last year, no arrests were made in 22 out of the city’s 25 reported homicides.

The other homicide victim was Brian Faulks, who was shot on March 17 on Spring Street, between Dewitt Street and Button Street. He was pronounced dead at Yale New Haven Hospital.

In addition, on March 16, NHPD received a call from a concerned citizen regarding a body found on Springside Avenue, between Hard Street and Wintergreen Avenue. The unknown female death is being treated as a “suspicious death” and is being investigated by the Major Crimes Unit.

32 new police officers will enter the force by late August, according to Elicker.