It’s not clear why gangs thrive in Connecticut, but research has shown crime is more prevalent in areas with high income gaps. And Connecticut has the starkest contrast between the rich and the poor, according to Census data analyzed by Bloomberg.
Connecticut cities Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford are all among the 25 most dangerous cities in America, according to our analysis of violent crime per capita.
What’s wrong with Connecticut?
First of all, the state faces a growing gang problem.
Gangs are no longer a problem associated with big cities alone. Since the 1990s, their prevalence has been growing in smaller cities and suburban areas. FBI data shows that since 2009, gang membership increased most significantly in the Northeast and Southeast regions of the country.
Bridgeport is especially dangerous. The state’s most populous city had 15 murders per 100,000 people in 2012 after a rash of gun violence. Residents interviewed by the Connecticut Post admitted that “something has to be done” about gangs in the city. At least 15 sets of gangs operate in Bridgeport, according to the newspaper.
While gangs in Bridgeport are primarily neighborhood-based and focus more on robberies than drugs, gangs in Hartford are more into drug trafficking. An internal police memo from 2009 discussed the “gang infestation” that has been plaguing Hartford, noting that “recruitment is at an all-time high.”