Finch: City Is Safer, Stronger Than Any Time I Can Remember

Who’ll win the war of words this mayoral cycle when it comes to public safety? A day after the city’s latest murder, Mayor Bill Finch in a news release touts lower crime rates, saying “I’ve seen the progress and our residents today feel much safer than they did seven years ago.” Does the mayor’s optimism resonate with voters?

News release from city Communications Director Brett Broesder:

Violence and property crime continue to go down in Bridgeport as the city continues to grow jobs and crack down on gang and gun violence, according to 2014 crime statistics released today.

In 2014, Bridgeport experienced a 3.6 percent reduction in violent crime and a 4.9 percent drop in property crime compared to 2013, according to statistics compiled for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

In all, violent crime in Bridgeport is down by 30 percent since 2001. Property crime in the city has been reduced by 32 percent in that timeframe.

“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.”

There were 11 criminal homicides in Bridgeport in 2014, the same as in 2013. Robberies decreased by 6.2 percent and aggravated assaults decreased by 3 percent last year compared to 2013.

Burglaries dropped by 5 percent, larcenies declined by 8.1 percent and arson decreased by 20 percent. Simple assaults, which are not included in the UCR report, dropped by 18.9 percent. Factoring in simple assaults, the crime rate dropped by 9 percent in 2014.

And, so far in 2015, violent crime has gone down by almost 16 percent compared to the first three months of 2014.

“We continue to see a steady reduction in violence and crime in general,” said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. “The men and women on this department work hard every day but they don’t do it alone. We work with neighbors, the business community, council members and our law enforcement partners.

“We move forward by working together, and I think the crime reductions show we are doing just that,” he added.

“You don’t reduce violence overnight,” said Mayor Finch. “But I’ve seen the progress and our residents today feel much safer than they did seven years ago. And, they are safer. Together, we are making Bridgeport a place where people choose to live, choose to open a business and create jobs and want to raise their kids.

“The statistics say we are on the right track. The numbers prove it. Each number represents a person,” he added. “The 5 percent reduction in burglaries means 59 fewer people had their homes or businesses broken into. The 8 percent reduction in larcenies means 211 fewer people had their possessions stolen. Fifty fewer people were victims of violent crime this year compared to last. Those are the numbers that matter.”

Charles Grady, who heads Project Longevity in Bridgeport, said he sees the collaboration and coordination working. The foundation of Project Longevity is collaboration between law enforcement, the community and non-profit resources at a federal, state and local level to reduce violence.

Over the last 24 months, Grady said, Bridgeport a 9 percent decline in violent crime recidivism, the highest reduction of the three cities that participate in Project Longevity, a partnership of law enforcement, community leaders and social service providers that cracks down on gang violence while offering support to people who want to get out of the cycle of violence.

“The true working relationships we develop with those seeking to change their lives and turn away from violent behaviors can’t be measured with charts and graphs. The outcomes of our joint efforts resonate loud and clear throughout the community,” Grady said. That doesn’t happen without law enforcement as an equal, committed partner. “We are making a difference everyday both in front and behind the scenes.”

Councilwoman Eneida Martinez, who has walked with beat officers in the East End and worked with the department to close down an illegal club that plagued the neighborhood, said her neighbors have benefited from a Police Department that works with the community.

Her community has seen the results first hand, she said.

“I’ve seen the progress. Bridgeport is a safer place. That doesn’t happen without the community working with police and police working with the community,” said Martinez. “No one can do it alone.”



  1. Isn’t it horrible that sadly after another homicide this weekend, officials are still trying to pat their own backs by claiming crime is down? Oh what lies we share at election time. Please disregard what your lying eyes and ears tell you. The PD is lowering the stats for Finch and Co.

  2. Getting better daily? Feeling safer from the effects of crime? Are these things Finch should be claiming as due to his Mayoral management? Or are they due mainly to changing demographics? Or some other cause, like Project Longevity, that to the best of my knowledge is not a City program.

    More importantly is the City Police Department may have decreased by 100 or more officers. That has been in the Mayor’s control, right? So is the Mayor saying there is less criminal behavior with a smaller Police Department? I don’t think so. But why not? If you truly believe a shrinking department has been that effective, why staff larger? Why not take the money out of that budget, and lower taxes this year, pay down some debt, or put more in education?

    Why fund the Police Department for 100 more officers than you can hire in the next year. Guaranteed “ghost expenses!!!”

    Can you really have it both ways, Mayor Bill??? Or is the bobblehead doll modeled after you have had a decision-making process where you try to claim both positions that are in opposition? So confusing. but choices are the province of leadership. Time will tell.

  3. The more the mayor and Bobblehead Brett talk about crime the more attention they draw to the topic. If I’m the mayor I would put a lid on this chatter for the time being because sometimes you are better off leaving things alone.

  4. JML,
    Excellent point. If we are doing such a great job reducing crime with 100 fewer police, why hire more? Unless Finch is clueless as to what is going on with crime and just won’t admit it.

  5. I’m glad to see Mayor Finch and Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. are giving us percentages and numbers, now they need to give the voters the percentages and numbers for the past seven years of how many Bridgeport residents have beden hired to the police dept. and how many blacks, females and Hispanics have been hired and how many white males from out of town.

    A lot of crime is not reported, people are scared because they or a family member will get hurt if they make that phone call to the police. Gang members know how to make people scared to say anything.

  6. Well it’s good to see major road improvements all through the West End. Though I appreciate the smooth ride throughout Wood Ave, it was a bitch picking up my lawn mower at Lewis Lawn repair. But alas, I discovered a third Vietnamese restaurant next door. So I can live with the inconvenience of new roads. I’ll bet the West End residents and councilmen are upset with the road improvements. I guess Bridgeport is getting better and better.

  7. The sad truth is the city of Bridgeport is probably headed for a long hot summer and with a depleted Police Department with mediocre leadership and low morale, the spin doctor will still be singing that song.

    1. Hear hear, Double D. They can spin it as much as they want and the leadership of the PD can fudge the stats all they want, but it’s still a you-know-what sandwich. Only an idiot would be touting stats with a poor unfortunate slain man in the backdrop. Tell that to all the families of those slain the last few weeks, Mr. Mayor.

  8. Yeah, I am constantly defending the City I live in to people who live outside the City. A family wedding over the weekend and I have to field questions about what is going on with crime in Bridgeport how it is in the news for a lot of bad things lately. I defend my city but between you and I, I lose things constantly through theft and so do my friends, vandalism, friends getting attacked on the sidewalk, etc. too. I don’t bother reporting it and neither does anyone else I know and by the way, what happened to the Washington Park Comfort Station? I hear they got in there and stole all the plumbing, urinated all over it and graffitied the porcelain tiles. Getting better every day? Time for a new mayor. Please don’t insult us with the BS!


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