It took a while. But it seems that Hartford's brass has finally learned better than to step in front of the media touting declining crime stats. Especially when the city rang in the new year with a double homicide.
There was a little back patting at Tuesday's city hall press conference. And hey, why not? Serious crime in 2010, including homicides, was down.
But Police Chief Daryl Roberts and Mayor Pedro Segarra quickly added, numbers - even good ones -- don't tell the whole story. And they don't mean a thing to a grieving family of a murder victim or city residents trapped by crime and violence in their neighborhoods.
In fact, while most serious crime has dropped, Roberts admitted that aggravated assaults remain a challenge. They've consistently gone up since 2008, increasing by 7.6 percent in 2010.
No doubt police deserve credit here. By their numbers, burglaries, car thefts and robberies are down. So are homicides, which at 25 meant 9 less bodies in 2010.
But from where I sit, those ever increasing aggravated assaults speak a lot louder than many of those other stats about crime in the city. And about the reality many residents live with.
Roberts said most of the assaults are committed by young punks who handle their disagreements with deadly weapons. Their actions, he said, stem from a lack of respect they have for life, including their own.
That's a fine observation. But I've also heard Chief Roberts say enough times over the years that the cops know who these trouble makers are.
So it's hard not to think that if cops target, really target, these guys - we might finally see a decrease in aggravated assaults.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at