A shooting on Goodrich Street late Friday night has once again brought up the quality of life issues facing residents of southern Hamden who are calling on town officials to do more to address them.
A woman was shot twice, the victim of a drive-by shooting, just before midnight Friday, according to Police Chief Tom Wydra.
"Just prior to midnight, a female was shot while traveling in her vehicle on Goodrich Street near Shelton Avenue," Wydra said. "A large four-door Acura drove alongside the victim's vehicle and two male suspects began firing at her and the vehicle. The female was struck twice by a .45 caliber gun. She was transported to St. Raphael's Hospital for treatment. She is expected to survive."
Around the same time, the New Haven Police Department was investigating a shooting nearby on Lilac Street, he said.
"We are investigating the possibility of the shootings being connected," he said. "Our Major Crimes and Crime Scene Units are managing the investigation."
The shooting does not appear to be random, Wydra said.
"We don't believe that this was a random act of violence," he said.
Violence becoming too common
The shooting was the latest in a string of incidents in southern Hamden that has many living there looking for help from the town.
"Overall there has been spike in violent crime in southern Hamden," Wydra said. "We are keenly aware of that and have increased patrols in hopes of curtailing some of that violence."
But to some extent, the department's hands are tied, Wydra said, as the department's request for overtime for the 2012-13 budget was cut. Wydra requested $700,000 for overtime, Mayor Scott Jackson cut that to $600,000.
But the department has increased patrols in the area, including bicycle patrols in the Newhall and Farmington Canal Trail areas during peak hours, Wydra said.
"I would recommend that any citizen employ precautions and also strongly encourage them contact us if they witness a crime or hear of one," he said.
The department has a substation at the former Hamden Middle School building, but it's not staffed regularly because it doesn't have the resources to do so, Wydra said.
"It's a drop-in point for officers and provides a point in the neighborhood where people can expect to see police officers," he said.
Residents look to town for help
Southern Hamden residents have become a more cohesive group, working to bring awareness to the issues they are facing, and that effort will continue, according to Shahid Abdul-Karim, who with his wife T. In’Naam have been active in bringing residents together.
"We are organizing our efforts with other community leaders in the south end to encourage more civic participation to address the increase crime in our area," he said. "Our desire is to continue to partner with the town to increase lighting in the hots spots and establish quality business, upgrading the property value and our tax base."
As the area continues to evolve, the town needs to become proactive to its needs and issues, he said.
"This is not the Hamden of 20 years ago, the dynamics and diversity of the community has changed," he said, "which requires our elected officials and Police Department to meet those immediate needs"