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Hartford reports drop in rate of homicides

HARTFORD — The rate of killings in Hartford this year is on track to be among the lowest since the early 1980s as police credit coordinated federal, state and local crime-fighting.

The Hartford Courant reported that a fatal shooting in October was the 20th in 2012, representing a 20 percent drop compared with the same period last year.

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If no one else is killed in Connecticut’s capital city before the end of the year, 2012 will have the fewest homicides since 2004.

Officials cite the work of the Hartford Shooting Task Force, a team that was organized after last year’s violent summer.

Members of the task force are from the chief state’s attorney’s office, state Department of Correction, State Police, federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and East Hartford, Hartford, Manchester, and West Hartford police departments.

‘‘The statistic is better than other years,’’ said Lieutenant Brian J. Foley, head of the Hartford Police Department’s major crimes division. ‘‘I think a lot of it has to do with the way all the resources are working together.’’

Officials say serious crimes also have declined. The number of serious crimes, which are defined as murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, and auto theft, dropped since 2008 by more than 13 percent, to 6,134 as of Nov. 10, Hartford police said.

Carl Hardrick, an ambassador with the Crisis Intervention Team at the YMCA, said that despite the lower crime rate, there is room for improvement.

A large part of his job is to mediate conflicts among youngsters and be aware of potential violence. He also drives kids to the YMCA from areas where they are vulnerable to violence.

Some Hartford residents have noticed a change, but say the streets still do not feel safe.

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