NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Shiny new bikes and two friendly faces as officers get set for bike patrols in the East Rock and Cedar Hill neighborhoods. On Tuesday night, community leaders, residents, officers and neighborhood kids came together for Pizza with a Cop to help build better police and community relations.
“We’re about building a relationship with the community. I can control that. My officers can control building a relationship with the community. We can’t necessarily control crime,” said Shafiq Abdussabur, New Haven Police District Commander of the Newhallville, East Rock and Cedar Hill neighborhoods.
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On Monday night, two men were shot outside of the Hess gas station on State Street, just a block away from the venue where Pizza with a Cop took place.
“It’s an interesting area because there is crime that happens here and you know, the increase in patrols is important,” said District 10 Alder Anna Festa.
Abdussabur says crime is unpredictable. He’s hopeful relationships fostered within the community, at events like Pizza with a Cop, can help solve it.
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“Formats and events like this allows the community to see us as being concerned citizens as well as them and it opens the door to how do I call the police,” said Abdussabur.
Police are still searching for the suspect in Monday’s shootings. Officers recovered two guns at the crime scene. One of the victims remains hospitalized in critical condition. Despite the uncertainty the feeling among neighbors is one of optimism.
“We’re here together to celebrate getting together and meeting the patrol officers. So, it does put a damper but we didn’t allow it to bring us that down,” said Festa.
“I’m not afraid. You know, whatever is meant to happen is going to be. So, we just have to take one day at a time, pull together as a community and try to work things out,” said resident and business owner Tammy Jones.