Over the past week the two Democratic candidates for governor, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, have announced their plans to deal with two issues—crime and affordable housing. Like most of their plans, the two party hopefuls agree on the desired outcome, but differ slightly in their approach.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon in Hartford outside family court on Washington Street, DeStefano explained his focus on domestic violence against women and children, whereas Malloy’s plan unveiled earlier this week focused on beefing up the state’s police force, tightening gun laws, and prevention programs for the youth. DeStefano said while overall crime is down, crimes against women and children continues to increase. He said a 2005 Social State of Connecticut study show that reports of child abuse more than doubled between 1999 and 2003. He said it will take minimal amounts of money to fund already established programs and shelters. DeStefano proposed increasing in the number of victim’s advocates in the courts, providing rape victims with access to emergency contraception, supporting safe havens for children and creating a statewide sexual assault forensic examiner program to improve on gathering evidence needed to prosecute. Beverly Brakeman, who counseled women involved in violent crimes for 10 years, said Thursday that “You’re fraught with fighting as much for the victims, as you are for funding.” She said the funds are staying the same while the number of victims has increased. In addition, three of the rape counseling centers including the one in Hartford have closed. There are nine left in the state and the closest to Hartford is New Britain, Brakeman said. According to preliminary data from the FBI’s 2005 Uniform Crime Report, violent crime was up slightly in Bridgeport and Stamford and down slightly in Waterbury and Hartford. Murders increased in all four cities, while robberies and rapes were up in Stamford and Bridgeport and down in Hartford and Waterbury.Malloy didn’t specifically address crimes against women and children, but said in his press release earlier this week that he would address the recent increase in crime by putting 1,000 more police officers on the street in addition to supportive programming. Malloy’s plan was estimated to cost $92.5 million over four years. Click here to read the Hartford Courant’s article on Malloy’s crime reduction plan and here to read the plan. Pieces of DeStefano’s plan add up to less than $10 million. There’s about $1 million for domestic violence programs, $3.5 million for 24/7 staff at emergency shelters, $1 million for the advocates in the courts, and $500,000 to support safe haven for children. DeStefano did not estimate the cost of creating a sexual assault forensic examiner, who would help collect evidence for prosecution. DeStefano’s plan to reduce crime against women and children hasn’t been posted on his web site. As for affordable housing, Malloy said Wednesday “We should stop looking for enemies,” and work together to find solutions to the housing crisis. He said education is key when it comes to building affordable housing in suburban and rural communities. He said for two years in Stamford he worked hard to change people’s misconceptions about affordable housing. He said in Stamford a developer can’t tear down a unit of affordable housing without replacing it. Click here to see Malloy’s plan. DeStefano said the state should take a more regional approach to its land use policies. If community rejects the idea of building affordable housing then they won’t receive state aide for improvements to infrastructure, he said. “If you want to live like an island, then finance your own projects,” DeStefano said. Click here to see DeStefano’s plan.