Adams Urges Action at Forum on Gun Violence

September 26, 2016

Rep. Terry Adams and other lawmakers representing Stamford districts stepped up a fight against a spate of gun-related incidents this year, urging immediate action while suggesting a number of crime-busting strategies of their own at a forum held

Monday at the Chester Addison Community Center. The forum included city officials, school representatives, law enforcement authorities, and community and clergy leaders.

There have been nine shootings and 22 reports of shots fired around Stamford over the past six months. None of the incidents were fatal, but a special police task force was established this summer to investigate those crimes.

Mayor David Martin said police have recovered more than 120 illegal weapons in the community this year. However, a small group of armed men still manages to elude police as most shooting victims are refusing to cooperate with detectives.

“I believe we’ve had some success behind the scenes,” Martin told the panel of about 30 state and local leaders. “But I’d be a fool if I told you this is over. The truth is we have a long way to go ... We need your help.”

The panel noted that Stamford often ranks as one of the safest cities in New England, but they agreed the city needs help from the community and legislators to maintain that status.

Some recently launched efforts include a crime-stopper anonymous rewards program, which offers $1,000 for a tip leading to the arrest of someone in possession of an illegal gun; a summer program at the Yerwood Center, which provided an outlet for city youth to socialize in the evenings; and the Girls and Boys leadership programs, which involve veteran police officers mentoring at-risk teens.

Michael Lawlor, undersecretary of the Office of Policy and Management for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, spoke Monday about Project Longevity, an initiative created to reduce violence in Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. The project brings together young people, often with gang associations or prior convictions, for “call-ins” with community leaders and social service providers.

Lawlor said most victims and shooters follow certain patterns that police can identify and then intervene in their lives.

Though most in the room praised the project, some were unsure it would work in Stamford — which has a much lower crime rate than the project’s three inaugural cities.

For more, read the Stamford Advocate news story