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Sound Bites: Connecticut gun-related crimes are spiking

Damian Dovarganes

Good morning. Gun-related crimes are increasing in Connecticut once again after dipping during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a state Office of Legislative Research report. 

In 2022, the report found:

  • 60% increase of illegal gun carry without a permit, to almost 650
  • Illegal gun fire more than doubled, to 200
  • First-degree manslaughter by gun more than doubled, to 10 instances

Researchers illustrate how the pandemic caused gun-related crimes to ease due to most residents being required to stay in their home and maintain social distancing. 

Connecticut has among the strictest gun laws in the country with a relatively low gun violence rate of 6.7% per 100,000 residents. Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Two Long Island men have pleaded guilty to wire fraud for misusing COVID-19 relief funds. Arthur Cornwall, a New York City Transit Authority employee, and State Court Officer Sean Williams diverted $770,000 to their personal accounts to clear debt and purchase cryptocurrency. They may face up to 30 years in prison and could be fined up to $1.5 million.

A New Haven resident is suing a police captain for a 2021 car collision. According to thelawsuit, Francisco Betancourt was westbound on Lamberton street when Rose Dell crashed into him by driving in the opposite direction. Betancourt suffered injuries to his spine and anxiety from the collision.

An investigation is underway into antisemitic flyers on Long Island. On Sunday, flyers were posted in Plainview by the hate group, the Goyim Defense League, blaming Jewish people for gun control. Nassau County lawmakers urged the community to work with the police to hold the group accountable.

Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (D-CT) joined in support of the New England Clean Power Link project. The project would construct a 1,000-megawatt transmission line underneath Lake Champlain to bring Canadian hydropower into New England. If approved by the U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, the $1.6 billion project would be included in the $2.5 billion Transmission Facilities Program.

Two racing horses died at Long Island’s racing facility Belmont Park. Over the weekend, horses Mashnee Girl and Excursionist were euthanized after suffering injuries on the race track. Cornell University will conduct a necropsy on Mashnee Girl to determine if Belmont Park is treating it’s horses safely and humanely.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) joined with Illinois and Iowa to introduce a bill to protect young farmers. The bipartisan bill — Increasing Land Access, Security and Opportunities Act — would authorize funding of $100 million annually for the next five years to provide entrepreneurs with grants and training programs to acquire land and build successful farm business. Agricultural land prices have increased exponentially in recent years making it difficult for older farmers to transfer their farmland to the next generation, especially for Black and Indigenous farmers.

Nine insurance companies in Access Health CT plan to increase rates by up to 23%. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong denounced these proposed rate hikes, claiming that most families and businesses will be unable to afford insurance. The state Insurance Department said the hikes are due to rising health care costs, Medicaid unwinding and new legislation.

Connecticut has its first licensed cannabis delivery service. Jack Cochran, the owner of Green Coach Delivery, delivered the first orders personally in Manchester. The company partnered with Fine Fettle and currently makes deliveries to Manchester, Glastonbury, South Windsor and Vernon, with orders costing a minimum of $75.

Mpox vaccines available across Suffolk County this summer. Formerly called Monkeypox, the virus may spread due to low vaccination rates this year in residents and tourists. Only 30% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated against Mpox. Last year, gay or bisexual men made up the majority of reported cases.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.