Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $700,000)
Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut, with a racially and ethnically diverse population of nearly 149,000 residents. With approximately 23% of those residents living below the poverty line, it is also one of the state’s most impoverished cities. Bridgeport has seen a precipitous increase in gun-related crime over the past several years. The period of time between calendar years 2019 - 2021 saw gun violence incidents increase dramatically, with firearm-related homicides increasing by 44.2% from the previous three-year span and firearm-related assaults also rising 20% from 296 incidents to 355 incidents. ShotSpotter data indicated that the City recorded 1,556 incidents of shots fired during the same period. The nature of this violence, which is largely gang-related, poses a serious challenge for law enforcement.
The Bridgeport Police Department has already made substantial investments in its efforts to combat gun violence. The Department developed Fusion Center, its strategic operations center, to bring together citywide surveillance systems with crime-monitoring technology such as ShotSpotter. Fusion Center is currently staffed by 5 full-time Bridgeport police officers, along with 1 full-time police lieutenant and a full-time school security officer. Bridgeport Police also commenced a city-wide investigation into ongoing gang violence with comprises federal, state, and local partners from agencies including the FBI, DEA, and ATF. The Department also began weekly intelligence meetings where a similar coalition of federal, state, and local stakeholders share updates, resources, and discuss best practices.
The purpose of this grant will be to enhance these existing efforts through the development of a Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC). This will be accomplished with the purchase of additional technology, including an expansion of ShotSpotter coverage, ShotSpotter Connect technology, access to NIBIN, and expanded surveillance. BPD will convene a CGIC Integration Team to develop and implement processes governing the collection and analysis of ballistic evidence, as well the dissemination of NIBIN hits and leads through daily intelligence meetings and weekly collaborative meetings.
The expected outcome of these efforts is to improve response time, bolster the collection of ballistic evidence, and facilitate federal, state, and local investigations with the ultimate goal of prosecuting gun criminals and reducing gun violence overall. As a part of this project, BPD will report on deliverables including, but not limited to: MOU agreements formed with partners, new policies and procedures implemented, ShotSpotter and NIBIN data, trainings received, and the resulting number of investigations and convictions.