MERIDEN — According to a report released by the police department, this year has seen the highest number of “shots fired” complaints in the last decade.
So far there have been 150 reports of gunfire in 2020, 85 of which were confirmed and 65 were unconfirmed, according to the data.
The report includes information through Oct. 13. Police consider a report “confirmed” when they find evidence like shell casings or bullet damage, when there is a victim or when there is a witness. Police Chief Roberto Rosado spoke at the City Council Public Safety Committee meeting Wednesday night about the increase.
“We know there is a lot of conflict in the community,” Rosado said during the virtual meeting. “Not only in this community, but with other communities... We’re also working with them to curb some of the activity.”
Rosado said the incidents of gun violence in Meriden are connected to New Britain, New Haven and Waterbury. Meriden police are working with those municipalities along with state and federal agencies. Rosado said the individuals involved in the incidents belong to violent gangs.
Rosado also pointed out that there was a similar spike four years ago. In 2016 there was a rise in gun incidents then the following years the numbers went down, he said. In 2016 there were 117 shots fired complaints, 48 of which were confirmed, according to the data. In 2017 there were 70 complaints with 23 confirmed and in 2018 there were 86 complaints with 36 confirmed. Rosado said the current spike began in 2019, with 108 complaints and 55 confirmed incidents. He said the perpetrators in the 2016 incidents were arrested and went to prison, leading to a decrease in the following years.
Rosado also mentioned the support police have received from New Haven Superior Court in obtaining search and arrest warrants at all hours of the day and night. He said court employees are “just as frustrated” as police when they see the same individuals treating the judicial system like a rotating door.
“We’re hoping to put an end to this fairly quickly,” Rosado said.
During the meeting, Mayor Kevin Scarpati said the city places trust in the police department. He wants residents to know that not all the information police have can be shared because many of the incidents remain under investigation.
“We realize the challenges,” Scarpati said about sharing information related to the ongoing cases. “We don’t want to jeopardize the investigations.”