The Day



West Haven — To better prevent gun violence, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal believes knowledge is an important tool.

Blumenthal spoke at the University of New Haven's Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences to announce that, with Sen. Chris Murphy, he procured $1 million in congressio­nally directed spending to support data analytics efforts at the school to prevent gun violence.

"We have plenty of rhetoric" about stopping gun violence, Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. "We need facts and data."

Lee College Dean Mario Thomas Gabourey said the data analytics program is a student-run organizati­on and the funding will support additional work study positions so gun violence data can be analyzed and provided to the New Haven Police Department.

Lisa Dadio, assistant Lee School dean and a retired New Haven police lieutenant, said the data that would be collected and analyzed would be things such as determinin­g areas where gun or other violence is more prevalent.

Officers "going into a home for domestic violence deserve to know what dangers are facing them," Blumenthal said.

The city of New Haven, which has operated its own police-led community data-sharing operation called CompStat for years, has seen a recent uptick in gun violence with six homicides so far this year. Mayor Justin Elicker and Police Chief Karl Jacobson have discussed a multi-pronged approach to addressing gun violence, including DNA testing machines and more cameras. Elicker has also discussed a citywide initiative to open citywide youth recreation centers to use social services as a deterrent.

Assistant New Haven Police Chief Bertram Etienne said there’s “not one answer” to gun violence, but data will be useful to the department in determinin­g how to allocate its staffing and other resources to addressing the issue.

Elicker did not immediatel­y return a request for comment Tuesday.

Blumenthal said the data would be used for community interventi­on purposes, such as giving police officers informatio­n about opportunit­ies to prevent violence before it happens, and also would support trauma-informed training for officers. The Lee School will partner with the UNH School of Health Sciences. Betsy Francis-Connolly, dean of the School of Health Sciences, said gun violence is a public health issue.

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