In Community-based Policing, the police work directly with residents to identify potential problems before they erupt. To be successful, this style of policing depends on the building of trust and establishing relationships between community members and the police. Police officers once again “walk the beat,” as residents and police officers get to know each other. Community-based Policing is designed to address persistent crime in certain New Haven neighborhoods.
We are excited about the positive changes this program has already brought about, starting with the 2011 appointment of Dean Esserman as Chief of Police. Although Chief Esserman is no longer associated with the New Haven Police Department, he is widely credited for initiating community-based policing in New Haven, and we are certain that his successor will continue this practice going forward.
In 2012, NHS benefited from funding provided by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to implement a well-tested community safety program called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. This program brings together local residents, police officers, other city agencies, and community service organizations to address the pervasive and harmful effects of crime on the most challenged neighborhoods of New Haven. Close coordination between residents and police in the neighborhoods where we work is a critical component of our revitalization strategy.
In 2014, the MetLife Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) recognized the effects of community-based policing efforts in New Haven's Newhallville neighborhood. NHS, the New Haven Police Department, and resident group Newhallville Community Matters received awards for Community and Police Partnerships and Neighborhood Revitalization. Since 2011, there was a marked decrease in crime in the Newhallville neighborhood. NHS continues to work with the police department and resident groups on ongoing public safety initiatives.
All of these efforts have contributed to a substantial, city-wide drop in violent crime between 2011 and 2016, as reported in a Yale Daily News article. While the improvements over the five-year period can be attributed in part to a nation-wide trend of decreased crime, much of the credit belongs to the NHPD's commitment to improving community relationships through walking neighborhood beats, talking to residents, and partnering with local organizations.