Bridgeport, Connecticut has recently seen a decline in violent crimes and many are crediting, amongst other things, the local branch of an initiative with origins at both the state and federal level known as Project Longevity. The program is designed to combat crime rates by engaging people at risk of falling into criminal patterns in community-oriented dialogues and seeking to provide help with finding employment. Bridgeport’s local chapter of the program has included nearly 80 individuals seen to be at risk of engaging in criminal lifestyles to date, some of whom have previous convictions for violent crimes.
Project Longevity’s track record thus far in Bridgeport has been exemplary. Of the almost 80 participants, only three have gone on to be arrested for violent crimes and the city overall has seen a decline in homicides of thirty percent and along with a twelve percent drop in the rate of shootings.
A recent event held by Project Longevity included some 40 at-risk teenagers and featured Governor Malloy as a keynote speaker. Malloy spoke of programs such as Project Longevity as well as new, stricter gun laws recently signed into effect calling them components of a larger effort to help reduce violent crime in the state and protect the state’s youth.
Charles Grady, who heads the local chapter of the program, praised Malloy’s attendance to the event and said that what the program needs, more so than monetary support, is continued commitment and follow-through from employers who pledge support for the initiative.