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Round-Up Of Crime And Other Assorted State Stuff

A look at violent crime, disaster preparedness and bio science

VIOLENT CRIME

Across the nation violent crime is in a downward spiral according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“I'm certainly encouraged that violent crime is on the decline nationally, in spite of the economy, which one would think would contribute to more violent criminal behavior,” said state Sen. Andrew Maynard, a Democrat representing Groton, North Stonington and Stonington in the 18th Senate District.

However, Maynard said he’s troubled that some of the state’s urban areas aren’t seeing the same decline.

“News reports seem to indicate that much of the violent and deadly criminal activity is among and between poor youth in our urban centers, often drug or gang related,” Maynard said.

The Judiciary Committee and the Governor are working on a variety of sentencing and prison reforms, many of which were passed last session, Maynard said.

“It’s an empirical fact that (they) are young, African American boys aged 15 to 25,” said Mike Lawlor, Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning. “They are shooting each other for no apparent reason; for stupid stuff. Sometimes it’s an actual gang, but they are terrorizing these neighborhoods.”

Halting the hail of bullets doesn’t include what some criminal justice experts call the “stop and frisk” approach. That just fuels the perception that police are the enemy. Rather, police, social workers, and others must confront those responsible for the violence. The word get out that the law will be unleashed – arrest people in gangs and groups for anything – from deadbeat dads to street level drugs.

While that might sound like generalizing, it’s not, Lawlor said.

“We can narrow it down to a really small list of names and we can tell who the next victim is likely to be or who the next shooter is likely to be,” Lawlor said.

Law enforcement must consider the uniqueness of each city, Lawlor said. There also must be increased cooperation. 

In addition, there is no end to the education and job training efforts designed to improve the chances of our youth but the bitter reality is that many are drawn into a culture of violence due to persistent economic disadvantages and the lack of any real job opportunities. 

BIO SCIENCE

The Connecticut Health Center is getting a new roommate of sorts: Jackson Laboratory of Bar Harbor Maine is launching a billion-dollar personalized medicine project on the campus of the University of Connecticut Health Center.

The collaborative effort among the State of Connecticut, the University of Connecticut and Yale University and the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine will work to develop new medical treatments tailored to each patient’s unique genetic makeup.

“I’m thrilled and regard it as an affirmation of our commitment to a major investment at the UCONN Medical Center,” Maynard said.  “The Governor took a lot of criticism for an investment on that scale in these challenging times but, as he explained to our caucus, these are the kinds of major public investments we have to be willing to make to attract top talent and private investment to our state.”

They certainly are the kinds of investment the governor intends to make, said Colleen Flanagan, spokeswoman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. 

“Companies are in discussions with the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Malloy Administration constantly. And those discussions go both ways – as in the case of Jackson Laboratory, the administration reached out to them,” Flanagan said. “Other companies, upon consideration of moves, expansion or other issues, reach out to DECD.”

According to Malloy’s office the total 20-year capital and research budget for the institute is projected to be $1.1 billion, with Jackson Laboratory providing $809 million through federal research grants, philanthropy and service income, and the State of Connecticut contributing $291 million ($192 million in a secured construction loan and $99 million in research partnership participation). For every $1 dollar the state is spending on this project, Jackson Laboratory will spend $3.

“Without the State of Connecticut’s investment in its Bioscience Connecticut program, which strategically links Storrs, Farmington, New Haven and points in between, we would not have chosen Connecticut for our new Genomic Medicine facility,” Edison T. Liu, M.D., JAX’s president and CEO said in a press release. 

Flanagan said the Jackson Laboratory decision will help create, 842 construction jobs, 300 permanent direct jobs in 10 years; 600 permanent direct jobs within 20 years. In other words, it will help create more than 6800 permanent jobs total, she said.

“With this announcement, we’ve firmly planted our flag – We are reinventing Connecticut to lead in the 21st century economy,” Flanagan said.

YOU SAY EMERGENCY, I SAY MAJOR DISASTER…

Find that dictionary: the General Assembly passed an act, effective Oct. 1, to clarify the definition of “emergency” and “major disaster.”

 (1) "Attack" means any attack or series of attacks by an enemy of the United States causing, or which may cause, substantial damage or injury to civilian property or persons in the United States in any manner by sabotage or by the use of bombs, shellfire or atomic, radiological, chemical, bacteriological or biological means or other weapons or processes.

(2) "Major disaster" means any catastrophe including, but not limited to, any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm or drought, or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, explosion, or manmade disaster in any part of this state. 

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