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Emergency call boxes to be installed in New Haven

NEW HAVEN --  One New Haven neighborhood  is about to have a larger police presence, but it has nothing to do with the number of officers.

Fair Haven has had its fair share of crime, according to New Haven police. So, to fight that trend, blue light call boxes will soon be installed throughout the neighborhood. The goal: to make it easier and faster to connect to 911, just by pushing a button.

"We're hoping that the presence of these blue lights equipped with the phones will give people that don't have access to 911 quicker access, while also serving the function of deterring crime at the same time," said Lt. David Zannelli, the Fair Haven District Manager for the New Haven police.

This news comes as a relief to one mother, who is a life long Fair Haven resident.

"What if it's like in the middle of the night where nobody's around, nobody sees anything and if there's somebody shooting or somebody gets stabbed, you just press the button," said Jennifer Pabon, as she pushed her children in a stroller.

And the light will also help to illuminate typically dark areas. The boxes can only be installed if fiber optics are already in place.

"The fiber optic cable needs to be near it for the video and the telephone," said Zannelli.

Roughly $25,000 of grant money and donations is being used for the purchase, which will place the boxes in up to five locations in Fair Haven by the end of this year.

"If you had a box close to you you just go there and do that and be done," said Kenny Varle, a wheelchair bound man, who has lived in Fair Haven for 25 years.

"When you got to dial in and wait, it's a pain. There's a lot of commotion out here," said Varle.

The Yale campus is full of blue light call boxes, which the Zannelli says could be especially useful in Fair Haven.

"We have a huge homeless population," Zannelli noted. "We have the Grand Avenue shelter, the emergency shelter at 645 Grand. And those individuals are sometimes targeted."

And, because this segment of the population generally doesn't have a cell phone, they too would be better protected.

Within the next couple of weeks, the city will likely choose what model emergency call box they will purchase.