Attorney General Eric Holder joined Connecticut officials in New Haven Tuesday to announce a new statewide anti-violence initiative. The project involves face-to-face meetings with gang members who are most responsible for killings and homicides.
Attorney General Holder said Project Longevity targets the small number of gangs that drive most of the violence, and sends three messages, "..that such acts will not be tolerated, that they will be swiftly met with clear, predictable consequences, but also ..but also, that help is available for all of those who wish to break the cycle of violence and gang activity."
Alicia Caraballo is a school principal in New Haven. "I have a 24 year old son. Only child. Did everything the right way. Went to school. Became a school social worker. Became a school administrator. Little did I know that I would be called to the hospital because my son was murdered."
Caraballo was part of the first “call-in” on Monday in New Haven. That’s where community members, social service providers and law enforcement talk directly with gang members.
David Kennedy was there too. He’s director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
He says gang members were told to take the following message back to members of their group. "We will help you if you let us. There is absolutely no excuse for killing or shooting another human being. And if you continue in your violence – this is group stuff, you know it, we know it. - and the next homicide in New Haven will draw law enforcement attention to the entire group."
Project Longevity is being launched initially in New Haven and will expand to Hartford and Bridgeport.