Public safety was a cornerstone of Joe Ganim’s campaign comeback last year, challenging incumbent Bill Finch on police staffing levels and community policing, in particular the Trumbull Gardens area victimized by a historic shooting. Ganim on Monday, backed by the Bridgeport Housing Authority, announced the Police Department will establish permanent patrols in the city’s public housing projects. The BHA has agreed to commit $600,000 to fund the community policing campaign. The city will fund $400,000 for infrastructure and beautification in the housing projects.
Ganim, with acting Police Chief AJ Perez, made the announcement at a newly reopened police substation near Trumbull Gardens. Ganim has established a Community Policing Task Force that will include two sergeants and sixteen officers assigned to Trumbull Gardens, Charles Greene Homes, P.T. Barnum Apartments, Marina Village and Harborview Towers. Officers will be deployed over two eight-hours shifts per day. New security cameras in public housing locations will be connected to the police monitoring center at 999 Broad Street that Ganim says will produce real-time intelligence in response to public safety.
“As of today, we are fully committed to community policing in our public housing projects,” said Ganim in a statement. “All Bridgeport residents are entitled to feel safe and secure in their own homes. Without police investing in our public housing communities, the criminal element is allowed to run illicit drug and gun rackets in the apartment buildings and towers. Often residents just trying to go about their daily lives in these housing projects are terrorized and afraid to even let their children outside to play out of fear of stray bullets. From today on, our police officers will be there to protect and empower the residents of these communities by gaining their trust and working in partnership. We are here to stay.”
Ganim says the specialized community policing unit will perform patrols throughout the buildings and around the grounds of the housing projects to reduce the incidence of crime and to establish avenues of communication with the residents. The officers assigned will also help organize tenant patrols and youth groups, as well as develop leaders to monitor those entering the buildings. The officers will also make recommendations for the improvement of infrastructure such as camera placement, hallway lighting, door locks and intercom systems within the housing projects.