City leaders unveil gun violence initiative

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Each took the podium: the mayor, the police and fire chiefs, the superintendent. Each declared they will work together to stop the violence and maybe save the life of a New Haven teenager.

Mayor Toni Harp described the new gun violence initiative, City Youth Stat, as “a peaceful retaliation in the wake of recent violence.”

City leaders plan to meet weekly, to pour over statistics like truancy, arrests, and other high-risk behavior. And they will set goals and hold people accountable.

(RELATED: Suspected gang member arrested for murder of Hamden teen)

Superintendent Garth Harries said teachers will be the eyes and the ears.

“They see the positive,” Harries said. “They see the glimmers of hope and they see the tragedies and despair shaping up.”

The city says this will be different from anything they’ve done before to curb violence.

“It’s about data sharing, that is significant,” said Jason Bartlett of New Haven Youth Services. “It’s different and what we’re talking about is doing that on a local level.”

Harp said the initiative will “be much more effective in the work that we’ve done specifically around kids that we believe are likely to create violence.”

This is on the heels of keeping some schools open for spring break. So far, the mayor says they’ve seen about 500 kids come across the six open schools.

“That may not seem like a lot on an individual basis, but over six schools I think that’s considerable,” Harp said.

City Youth Stat plans to meet weekly with the first gathering scheduled for April 22.

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