HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Family lights candles and mourn the loss of Hartford’s latest homicide victim, William Prieto. He is the 24th homicide victim of the year, putting Hartford as the most deadly city in New England, behind Boston with 23, Springfield with 14, followed by New Haven at 11.
But homicides are way up across the United States with more than 30 cities. Baltimore is up to 77 homicides, St. Louis at 51 murders, and Washington DC up to 32.
Dr. Kim Hardy worked in both DC and Baltimore as a social worker and now is a professor at the University of St. Joseph. She says part of it is the Ferguson effect, officers acting a little more cautious on the job.
“They don’t feel comfortable doing their jobs anymore and they get jaded and worried, so I think they step back. But the biggest Ferguson effect is that there are a lot of young people that are not engaged in their community,” said Hardy.
The Hartford Police Department says the Ferguson effect can be to blame for part of it, but there are a whole handful of reasons, to the breakdown of the family unit, to drugs, to the easy access of guns. Retired Chief Bernie Sullivan was Hartford’s Chief from 1982-89 and saw homicide rates as high as 50 during his reign, and he says a lot of it has to do with street attitude.
“You’re dissing me, or you looked at me the wrong way. You can be killed because you’re dissing somebody, which is probably the most stupid and ignorant thing in the world, but what produced that is society,” said Sullivan.
While Jose Tores doesn’t know who killed his brother, he says it takes a family to raise a child.
“It’s also parenting to whoever the mother is. They should know what their children are doing out there,” said Tores.
Police do have several leads in the case and are working to make an arrest.