2/11/2015 - Bridgeport, Conn. reaching historic lows in crime, and recruiting new officers to join diverse police force

“I’m the father of four kids who were born and raised in Bridgeport. And, I’m proud to say that our city is safer and stronger today than any other time that I can remember.” – Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Conn. (Feb. 11, 2015) – Bridgeport is seeing historic lows in violent crime for another consecutive year, according to preliminary 2014 statistics compiled for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. And, Mayor Bill Finch and the Bridgeport Police Department are attributing it to a growing economy, efforts to crack down on gun and gang violence, and efforts aimed at helping the re-entry community.

They’re also attributing it to a diverse police department, which is seeking to be even more diverse soon as the police department is embarking on an aggressive recruitment effort.

Bridgeport’s anticipated violent crime drop in 2014 follows a more than 20 percent drop in violent crime in 2013 when compared to 2012.

“I’m the father of four kids who were born and raised in Bridgeport. And, I’m proud to say that our city is safer and stronger today than any other time that I can remember,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “It’s resulting in Bridgeport being a place where more people want to live and work, where more companies want to invest and hire people, and where our strong communities are helping to make for an even stronger economy.”

The crime rate in Bridgeport is the lowest it’s been in several decades. At the same time, major development projects are underway across the city.

“We’re creating jobs, growing businesses, investing in clean energy, providing second chances for those re-entering our community, and cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and gang activity. All of this and more are contributing to our historic reductions in crime. But we still have more work to do. We’re not complacent. We’ll continue working hard every single day to crack down on crime,” Mayor Finch added.

When compared to similar sized cities in New England, Bridgeport has seen the largest decrease in violent crime over the past decade, according to Rhode Island based WPRI.

“In Bridgeport, we’re taking a multi-pronged approach to cracking down on crime – and it’s working,” said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. “We have the largest decrease in crime when compared to New England cities of similar size. Our crime rate is at its lowest levels in 40 years. And, since Mayor Finch took office in 2007, crime has dropped nearly 15 percent. There are several reasons for this, including strong community policing, partnering with groups like Project Longevity and the Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force, and a growing economy that is creating job opportunities. Bridgeport is getting safer every day. But we’re working harder than ever to ensure that our streets are safer and more secure than ever before.”

And, even as crime continues to declined, the solvability rate remains high for the crimes that do occur. That is important, Gaudett said, because it takes dangerous people off the street. It is also important because holding people accountable for their crimes is a natural deterrent for others.

"We have made a lot of progress and Bridgeport is safer than it has been in decades. It always feels good seeing that hard work has paid off. Mayor Finch and the Bridgeport Police Department are focused on 2015, reducing crime even further and making Bridgeport a place where people want to raise their live, work and raise their families,” said Gaudett.

Bridgeport also has a lower crime rate than other large cities in Connecticut – which include Hartford and New Haven – according to city-data.

The state’s largest city also has the most diverse police department in the state when compared to other large cities, including Hartford, Waterbury, Stamford, and Norwalk.

But the department is looking to do even better on this front, enhancing its racial and gender diversity with an aggressive recruitment effort.

The Meriden Record Journal’s editorial board recently applauded Mayor Bill Finch and the Bridgeport Police Department for its diversity and recruitment efforts in stating:

“Municipalities nationwide have problems maintaining racially diverse forces. Bridgeport is an example to the contrary, with 43 percent of police being minority. The city recruits heavily, including at local churches and colleges, and events like the Juneteenth and Puerto Rican Day parades. Moreover, officials ask all officers to submit the name of one person they think would make a great officer,” said Mayor Finch

Mayor Bill Finch noted that the police recruitment effort is aimed at strengthening safety and security in the city, and making the department more representative of the community.

“We have two goals. We want to hire the best qualified candidates to protect our kids and families. And, we want to have a police department that is representative of our community. We’re not complacent. We still have work to do. That’s why we’re recruiting as we speak, and we’re asking for the community’s help,” said Mayor Finch.

For more information on police recruitment, click here: http://1.usa.gov/1DC1zsi.