Hamden police stepping up community involvement & patrols

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hamden police are working to improve their relationships with residents. They are more present in the community, and officers are working to get to know the people better.

Police are now doing walking patrols for the first time in 40 years.

Montrel Morrison is an activist in Hamden who works with the community. He says having the police where people can see them is important, and people have noticed.

“Having them out in the open when it’s not necessarily a time for a crime or anything negative, it’s always a great thing,” Morrison said.

Police aren’t just doing walking patrols. Starting this summer, they’re doing nearly a dozen different bike patrol routes on a rotating schedule.

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Mayor Curt Balzano Leng says the town is doing this not because of a specific crime, but to be proactive.

“My grandfather was a sergeant in the police force in Hamden 50 years ago,” Leng said. “He instilled in me the importance of walking beats, that personal interaction with people.”

The idea is that having police patrol these routes all over town will help them build stronger relationships with Hamden residents, and that they’ll be more willing to reach out to police for help.

“I want them to become more comfortable seeing and talking to officers,” said Leng. “All too many times people will not call in crimes.”

Officials say so far this has been well received. Morrison, who is also a Hamden resident, says it makes him feel safer.

“I think it’s great because we live so close to New Haven and some of the violence spreads on each other’s border lines,” said Morrison.

Police are also more present at community events – everything from festivals to farmers markets.

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