Police chief on Bridgeport homicides: ‘We need to do better’
Bridgeport police are ringing in the new year having caught the suspects and closed 36 percent of the city’s homicides in 2018.
Bridgeport police said Saturday that the homicide rate is down 50 percent in Bridgeport over last year, but officials say that is no comfort to families who have lost loved ones this year.
They say more than half of the murder victims over the past year were innocent bystanders, and they're working hard to clear the remaining 64 percent of unsolved cases.
"Last year unfortunately we had 22 homicides. This year we have 11 homicides, so we're 50 percent down from last year,” says Police Chief AJ Perez. “But again, one is too many and we need to do better, we need to do a lot better.”
Perez says non-fatal shootings are also down. He says it was a great way to wrap up the year by making multiple arrests in the last two homicides of 2018, including the shooting of 12-year-old Clinton Howell. But Perez warns that the city's most violent residents need to be on alert.
"We are putting the word out that gun violence is not going to be tolerated in this country," says Perez.
Police say they will be working with the city's schools and youth programs to help keep kids off the streets in 2019.