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Hartford Responds to Increase in Domestic Assault Arrests
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New crime statistics in Hartford show shootings and shooting deaths are down from a year ago. But domestic assaults are up markedly, and it's attracted the full attention of the police chief.

Studies have shown that domestic abuse increases in times of economic strain, but the uptick in Hartford started long before this recession. Arrests for domestic aggrevated assaults have steadily increased since 2005. In fact, when comparing the numbers from January to August over those five years, there's been a 250 percent increase.

They now account for a third of the city's aggrevated assault arrests.

"If you can't feel safe in your own home, then you know, it's just traumatic." 

In response, Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts is developing a domestic violence unit with dedicated detectives. The goal is create a coordinated follow-up with social service agencies.

"As police responders, we're the first responders. We get there when someone is bloodied or there's been an assault. it just doesn't stop at that point, because now that person has to go back when he or she is no longer in jail and is released, so we need to get training out there those individuals out there help so they don't continue to do it and the victim doesn't live in fear." 

There's no new money in his budget for the project, but the chief says the new hires from stimulus money are ultimately making it possible.

"All the stimulus money is going to hiring and as I hire, then I'll be able to promote. A rookie officer will not be assigned to this unit."

While it's still in the planning stages, he anticipates the new unit will be begin operating within a year.