MERIDEN -- A budget referendum in Meriden in September led to the tanking of a police program, the Neighborhood Initiative Unit, which had previously placed officers in residential neighborhoods.
Recent acts of violence throughout the city have sparked outrage among residents, who say these incidents are a direct result of the loss of the Neighborhood Initiative Unit. People who live in Meriden say they have seen an uptick in crime since the budget referendum went into effect.
On Saturday night, a man was shot near Nutmeg Drive and Chamberlain Highway. A spokesperson for the Meriden Police Department said the victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Hartford Hospital.
“If you could contact your Neighborhood Initiative officer, within a short period of time, you’d know that he got the information and do what he could to resolve the situation,” said Maryellen Mordarski, who lives near the location of Saturday night’s shooting.
“We are concerned because of the spike,” said Mordarski.
“I am almost 80 years old and I live alone,” said Patricia Wylie, a Meriden resident. “Now I have to worry about someone coming near the car. We never had this worry.”
Concerned residents gathered in front of Meriden City Hall on Sunday afternoon to respond to this latest act of violence. On Friday night, police made one arrest in a stabbing incident.
‘“I’m in support of getting our officers back where they used to be because we do see a crime spike,” said Steven Cardillo of Meriden.
“Our neighborhoods are going downhill because crime seems to be going up,” said Holly Wills, President of Meriden Council of Neighborhoods. “It comes down to dollars, that’s the issue. But we continue to work with our city councilors.”
City councilors plan to bring up the issue again at their next meeting. Neither the mayor’s office nor the city manager’s office could be reached for comment. If you have any information about Saturday night’s shooting, contact the Meriden Police Department.