Finch Says City Safer, But More Must Be Done

From city Communications Director Brett Broesder:

Mayor Bill Finch today announced the Police Department is instituting walking beats in the city’s four public housing complexes and expanding its Safe Corridors program in the area of Trumbull Gardens to enhance safety for kids and families.

“Bridgeport today is safer than it has been in about 40 years, but we can and must do more,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “That’s why we are initiating walking beats in our public housing complexes. Our officers will be out there every day–talking with residents, building better relationships and keeping our kids safe. It’s not just community policing. This is smart policing.”

In addition, the city is expanding its Safe Corridors program to add approximately 10 cameras around schools near Trumbull Gardens.

Safe Corridors is designed to ensure kids get to and from school safely through additional patrols by school resource officers and community volunteers at the beginning and end of the school day and through technology.

“This is a layered approach to safety through police, volunteers and cameras. The cameras are monitored throughout the school day in our command center, and they record 24-hours a day,” said Jorge Garcia, the city’s Director of Public Facilities. “In the event of an incident, police have immediate access to the footage.”

Security cameras have been invaluable in investigations, said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr.

“We’ve identified suspects and solved crimes using video from businesses, private homes, schools and police department cameras,” said Chief Gaudett. “The cameras not only help our detectives solve crimes but they serve as a deterrent to crime as well. The new cameras around Trumbull Gardens will make the community safer.”

The department continues to expand its capacity to use technology in investigations. Last year, the department sent detectives for specialized FBI training in the Digital Imaging Video Recovery (DIVRT) system, which allows detectives to efficiently retrieve video from public and private security systems so it can be quickly disseminated to the public.

That initiative has solved a number of serious crimes, including the April 11 killing of Jose Salgado in his store.

Overall, the police department crime’s reduction strategy has led to a 30 percent reduction in crime since 2007. That has been achieved through an aggressive focus on violent and gang-related crimes; data-driven policing through crime analysis; investment in technology, continued collaboration with state and federal law enforcement partners; community engagement and continued investment to provide officers with the tools they need to do their jobs.

When compared to other cities our size in New England, Bridgeport has seen the sharpest decline of any city in crime over the last 30 years. That includes New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Worcester, Providence, and Springfield.

“We can all see the reduction in crime through statistics but more importantly I see it when I walk in our neighborhoods with my kids,” said Mayor Finch. “I see kids playing outside and in our parks. Whether on Main Street or East Main Street, I see people strolling and shopping and talking with their neighbors.”

The new, high-visibility walking beats will operate in properties run by Park City Communities, the city’s Housing Authority. The beats will run between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. in Trumbull Gardens, Charles F. Greene Homes, P.T. Barnum and Marina Village.

These are additional beats that will supplement regular patrols.

According to Chief Gaudett, similar beats funded through the Housing Authority in 2013 were extremely effective and popular with residents.

“I think kids enjoyed some one-on-one time with the officer–and I think the officers enjoy it too,” said Gaudett. “And, it made everyone feel safer.”

The commanders have created walking details in other neighborhoods to address community concerns and quality of life issues.

On a daily basis, the department’s crime analysis unit tracks and maps violent and property crime, providing a snapshot that can flag emerging trends in real time so the department can respond. Every week, department supervisors meet at COMPSTAT to develop data-driven strategies. The department’s three area commanders are empowered with the flexibility to shift resources inside their sectors to suppress emerging issues.

The department also has aggressively targeted gun and gang violence. In addition to the gun buyback program, which took more in more than 1,000 firearms, the police seized 208 firearms between June 2014 and May 2015.

The Bridgeport-based Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force–a joint task force comprised of members of Bridgeport police, the Connecticut State Police and Department of Corrections–had been key in those efforts.

The goal of the task force is to identify and target violence related to firearms in the city of Bridgeport. The task force develops gang intelligence in a variety of ways, including through extensive contacts in the community and through social media.

Also, last year Bridgeport police partnered with the ATF and New Haven police in Operation Samson, an intelligence-led undercover operation that led to approximately 80 arrests and the seizure of 73 illegal guns in the two cities.

Most recently, the task force seized five guns, including a sniper rifle and two illegal assault weapons, which police believe were going to be sold to a drug dealer by an addict.

“I support initiatives like Project Longevity. If people want to change their lives, we want to help them make positive choices,” said Mayor Finch. “But police will be relentless in tracking down people who choose to tear down their community through violence.”

Mayor Finch also announced efforts to provide new equipment that will protect both police officers and the public.

The department has applied for a federal grant to equip police officers with body-mounted cameras. It also is seeking funding to purchase a driving simulator for police, which allows trainers to control driving conditions and create realistic scenarios.

It allows instructors to correct mistakes in a safe, classroom setting.

“Police officers receive ongoing firearm certification and training with the Taser,” said Chief Gaudett. “But no officers receive motor vehicle training after the police academy. In Bridgeport, we want to change that. It makes everyone safer.”



  1. As I knock on doors I am telling my neighbors we are down over 80 officers, more are scheduled to retire in the next month, and it will likely take close to two years before the BPD is fully staffed. We have had burglaries and two murders in our neighborhood in the last six months.

  2. I just spoke with a resident of the 136th. He just purchased a home and is having it refurbished. He called his contractor to make sure his workers had arrived. The contractor let him know his electrician was there also. The owner stated “what electrician, I didn’t hire an electrician. The owner rushes over and asks the contractors where the electrician is. They say he just left. He asks what direction he went in and they tell him. He calls the police and goes out after the guy. He sees him and runs after him and tackles him. He holds onto him until the police get there. Turns out the guy had a gun on him.

    But remember, crime is at a 40-year low and “Bridgeport is Getting Better Every Day.”

  3. People read the papers and most have decided whom they are voting for given the choices. I still believe if it weren’t for this blog there would be no passion about this race. I am sure the best is yet to come from Mayor Finch. After all the city and the Mayor have a lot riding on the next four years. Either Bridgeport continues to attract developers or forever misses its chance for coming back, as the valley takes off. I believe Bridgeport will become a new destination in Fairfield County and 20 years of Steelpointe development will be an ongoing promotion from I-95.

  4. Steve, get this in your head. Steel point is the worst investment on the flucking east coast!
    I know this is hard for you to believe, but it has taken 30 years to get to this point with another 20 years to go. No developer I know would wait that long for a return on their money. Not Sal DiNardo, not Bob Scinto, only Bill Finch who has no clue and the poor taxpayers of Bridgeport.

    1. Jim Fox,
      Steelpointe Steelpointe Steelpoint!

      Stop deluding yourself. Your candidate has few supporters in this city. And fewer I am certain as the Mayor announces he will run. Most voters will know the ramifications of their vote. Most of Ganim’s supporters are coming from outside-Bridgeport “old friends.” It is good to have old friends, but they do not vote.

  5. I was given a long tour of the safe corridors program. I was impressed. Schools in other urban areas have also viewed the program, and have implemented the program in their school districts. Getting foot patrols back into public housing is effective. I do not understand why this is not the first priority every year.

    1. Because we don’t have the permanent manpower to keep the cops in these housing projects. Don’t forget their are other places in Bridgeport besides the housing projects.

  6. The Finch plan is going to cost the taxpayers a ton of money. The PD is 80 men/women short as of today. The PD can barely cover the city now. Finch’s plan means officers will be hired off the OT list, which in turn inflates their salaries and thus increases their pensions. It’s a never-ending process because Finch and Gaudett allowed the manpower to drop 80 officers. They have a class of 40 going on, why not a class of 80?

    1. Andy, I am thinking your last comment is not a bad idea. It’s like Ganim when he had Weicker bailing him out and Clinton picking up the tab for police salaries and pensions. Clinton was a great president. This city could have been truly amazing if Ganim were not the mayor.

    2. Our new budget year begins tomorrow. The approved budget provided some $90 Million to the Police Department. Of course that includes over $15 Million towards repayment of the Pension Obligation Bond with 14 or so years left to pay, and only $100 Million or so in the Pension A fund to provide retirement income to former police or their widows until death. The market dropped 350 points yesterday and was up 23 points today. Greece? Or something more serious to threaten our assets but assist our liabilities in no way? Where is the fiscal voice in Bridgeport? Which candidate can talk with reason about where we are and show whether we “are getting better every day” or kicking the truth in the teeth and down the road? Time will tell.

  7. Too little, too late, Bill.

    Anything you might be able to do between now and the election is unsustainable long-term, because we are bankrupt and not a priority for the state and federal government under your Malloy-Himes-Blumenthal-Murphy ass-kissing regime.

  8. Wow!!! This is sad, crime is at a 40-year low nationwide, the crime reduction here has nothing to do with Finch and the police chief. People have been shot and one is dead and there are no leads, nothing and they want to quote numbers and not inform the residents of Trumbull Gardens of what is going on with those who shot 9 people and killed one. These people are scared.

  9. Lies, lies and more lies. Another political stunt. It took you and the moron of a chief you’ve got almost a month to figure this out. Foot patrol in all housing complexes. My sources tell me some of the patrol division lieutenants had asked for this months before the shooting but it was denied by the chief and assistant chief.
    Mayor, you sound like a broken record. Bridgeport is safer than ever. Where do you get your statistics from? I hope is not from the chief, lying sack of shit.
    Mayor Finch, how about over 10 commercial and street robberies in less than 48 hours? Over 12 burglaries in the same time. How about more homicides so far this year than last? How about more shooting victims so far this year than last?
    40 new police officers within the next few months. These new officers will not be ready until this time next year. Mark your calendars. Once agai, where do you get your numbers? The police department is about 80 officers short right now. By the end of July it will be over 100. Where do you get you are putting more cops on the street? And by the time those 40 are ready to go on the streets (a year from now) the department will be short about 120. Mayor, you mean to tell me your chief did not see this coming? I continue to stand by my statement. Chief Gaudett is the must incompetent chief this city has seen. I ask you Mayor Finch, is the police department better now than five years ago when you appointed this moron to the position? If you are honest with yourself and this city, you know if you get reelected he has to go.

  10. How long will it take the BHA to install the cameras and why were they not installed in the first place? Two words: voter turnout. They don’t vote for Finch over there.


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