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Violence As A Disease – Landlord Comes Under Fire in NH, CT

Tramire’s Landlord Comes Under Fire

by Paul Bass | Oct 12, 2012 12:38 pm

Understandably, a mother doesn’t want her 4-year-old playing outside on Kensington Street!  We have only a few weeks of warm enough weather left for children to be able to play outside, but this 4-year-old cannot benefit from this pre-winter respite that she needs to be able to get physical exercise because it is not safe.  How will this affect her health and overall well-being later on? She is one of hundreds of young children who cannot play outside.

 An important study about Violence As A Disease is linked here:

Violence as a disease, and one man’s prescription for Richmond-    Richmond Confidential (California), Jennifer Baires, 10/08/2012
“As an advocate for non-violence, Dr. Joseph Marshall had devoted the better part of his adult life to teaching others how to answer tough questions. Questions like: How thin is the line between killing someone and turning the other cheek? What would it take for you to justify murder? Can you conquer your instincts when those instincts were shaped from years of fighting on the streets?”

As reported in the New Haven Independent linked above and below:

“People no longer feel safe in the Dwight neighborhood, a landlord told a roomful of property owners.

You should do a better job managing your property, another landlord replied.

Hours later, their talk turned to bloody reality, as someone shot a 16-month-old child a block away.

The morning discussion—and then the afternoon shooting—took place in the Dwight neighborhood Wednesday (October 10, 2012).

Ten representatives of area landlords and four city staffers gathered at 10 a.m. inside the Dwight police substation at Edgewood and Day to discuss the state of the neighborhood.

The meeting brought to the surface complaints that the government-subsidized Kensington Square Apartments, run by an out-of-state outfit called Community Builders, has spun out of control, particularly on the block of Kensington Street between Chapel Street and Edgewood Avenue.

Just over four hours later, at 2:35 p.m., someone shot a 16-month-old boy named Tramire Miller in the torso on the porch of a house on that block, igniting citywide grief and outrage and an overwhelming police response. Tramire survived the shooting.”

Tramire is only 16 months old; thankfully, he survived!  The police responded overwhelmingly; the Mayor responded.  People are justifiably outraged.  Would it have been different if Tramire was 16 years old?  Can any of us who were not directly affected recall how many 16 and 17 year-olds (and younger) have been killed in New Haven since the year 2000? These children all died as a result of violence perpetuated mostly by other young people.  Whether the deaths were caused by arson, bullets, beatings or drugs, these children died as a result of violence in their communities. These deaths were not all in the Dwight Neighborhood. The victims did not all live in housing managed by out-of-state landlords.  The violence is no longer confined to late night activities; Tramire was shot at 2:35pm; that is early afternoon!!!  On May 15, 2012, 20-year-old Tyrell Trimble was shot shortly before 1:00pm near St. Raphael's Hospital. He died at the emergency room.  

Many of those carrying out these acts of violence live in the same or in nearby communities. They have family members and friends who know who they are and who know what they are doing. It is easy to complain about out-of-state landlords not screening tenants. It is harder to look in the mirror and see the complicit parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent or “friend” who chooses to feed the criminal and look the other way.  ‘He is a good kid who just got in with a bad crowd’ is the common refrain. It is always someone else’s fault that my child is engaging in criminal activities or –worse-- is a thug.   Those who perpetuate crimes were not born that way!  A confluence of environment, role models, experiences and direct teachings contributed to making them so.

  • a)  Why is a 16-year-old tooting a gun in his waistband? 
  • b)  Why is a “good kid” breaking into people’s homes and robbing them?
  • c)  Why would anyone seek to protect a family member he/she knows to be  carrying out criminal activities?
  • d)  What is loving about lying on behalf of your child who you know is peddling drugs on the street?
  • e) What should parents and loved ones do once they realize that their children are going down the wrong path?  
  • f) How can well-meaning, caring parents effectively stop the inclination of their children towards criminal behavior? 
  • g) Where can parents get help for the recalcitrant child before he or she buys a gun or joins a gang?
  • h) What are the signs for which the naïve or uninformed parents/grandparents need to be alert? The signs that scream WARNING!! Something is amiss; you need to make firm interventions now!
  • i)  Many parents, grandparents and guardians are reluctant to call the police for help at the first signs of trouble.  That is understandable.  Call 2-1-1; ask for a referral to intervention services. Get help early.

 So often we seem to forget that the criminals also have parents; they were born from other human beings.  They have to live somewhere.  Do we want to create a community expressly for thugs?  The landlords need to screen more effectively.  Sure, but where are the landlords who are going to knowingly welcome the criminals as tenants?  No doubt, most of the killers and shooters in our midst live under the same roof with their relatives.  Many are not old enough to rent an apartment on their own!  How do we honestly change the dynamics in our communities?

“Erik Johnson, director of city government’s Livable City Initiative (LCI), organized Wednesday’s meeting. He invited some of the larger property owners in Dwight, which has a heavy concentration of renters, to begin gathering regularly to air concerns and work together on communal challenges.”

Many of us are pleased to see this partially proactive response, but this is not the only area in New Haven where crime is proliferating.  There are a variety of criminal activities concentrated in many areas of inner-city New Haven (and other cities)  where there are no large concentration of out-of-town landlords.  Crimes are concentrated in housing complexes and in rental units, and even in places where the home owners are on the premises.  Some of the home-owners are carrying out, supporting, or turning a blind eye to criminal activities.  The preliminary questions are:

1) What is being done about criminal activities? and

2) What types of coordinated actions are the police and residents developing to put an end to the activities rather than just moving the problem elsewhere?

Extensive studies have shown that many children who become violent predators do so as a result of the violence they experienced as children within their own homes. “Child Abuse Hurts Us ALL” long after the actual abuse stops.  Children are abused in many ways; quite often it is done due to ignorance; at other times it is simply a perpetuation of the behavior of generations. 

The LCI organized meetings are good; we applaud civic engagement. However, getting the criminals out of one community does not “fix” the problem

We are not naïve enough to think that we can rid ourselves of all criminal perpetrators. However, we need a more comprehensive and coordinated systemic approach to significantly reduce the violence in our communities.  This must include parents, friends and relatives of those perpetuating the crimes. We need child and family services agencies, strong involvement of City Government, (police, schools), community health centers, parenting skills workshops, drug abuse treatment and counseling centers, social services agencies, churches, after-school programs, and activities that build self-esteem in children while they are young.  A technical high school in New Haven is a great place to start giving older children alternatives. 

Read about the: Impacts of Family Violence on Children We need strong community resistance to violence and vigilant media that reports accurately and comprehensively on the impact of violence on the total community, and on the effectiveness of the police dept in holding criminals accountable.  We applaud the New Haven Independent for its efforts in both regards.

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc produces television programs and community education forums on health literacy, education and civic engagement. You can find our programs on AT&T Uverse, on Charter Communications Chan. 21, on Comcast Channels 10, 15, 18, 26 and 34, and on Cox Channel 15.  Visit our web site at: to learn more.  We are a 100% volunteer organization.  We invite and welcome community support. 

N'Zinga Shani, program producer

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