While prosecutors review evidence in last month's stabbing that left a local teen dead, Meriden Police say they are taking both short term and long term steps to combat youth violence in the city.
Those steps include an increase in police presence at the Westfield Meriden Shopping Mall, where police say 15-year-old DeAndre Felton was hanging out with friends shortly before he was stabbed on nearby Kensington Street, according to a news release issued Wednesday.
Felton died after being taken to Midstate Medical Center and a 13-year-old also stabbed remained hospitalized Wednesday.
In reaction to the stabbings, police have also begun more strict enforcement of the city's curfew ordinance, which requires unsupervised teens under the age of 15 to be off the streets by 9 p.m. Violating the curfew comes with a fine of $90 for parents or guardians.
Police have also beefed up staffing in the department's investigative units to focus on intelligence gathering in an effort to ferret out criminal activity and effectively deploy resources, a press release issued Wednesday by police said.
"Realizing that the police department is only one component needed to address this greater social issue, we will certainly do our part in helping our community to find more positive and productive ways to channel youth aggression," the release says.
Mall representatives did not return Patch's call for comment.
According to police, on Sept. 21 Felton and a group of friends had left the mall and were walking in a hospital parking lot when Felton and the other teen broke away from the group and ran toward a man who was walking east on Kensington Avenue.
Police said the two teens jumped the man and, moments later, Felton and the 13-year-old teen ran back to the group at which point they collapsed from stab wounds.
It was at this point that Meriden police got a 911 call from an anonymous female caller reporting that two teens were stabbed on Kensington Avenue.
Police have interviewed a man they're calling a "person of interest" in the case but have not filed any charges. The man, whose identity is not being released, has cooperated with the investigation, police say.
The department waited until Wednesday to release more information on the investigation after meeting with community leaders, according to the release.
"During our investigation, we have maintained a dialogue with the families of those involved in this incident and we have reached out to community leaders to ensure that they have been kept informed," the police release said.
According to reports, Felton was once a student at Maloney High School, where school resource officers have been tasked with gathering intelligence information police say will be shared, monitored, and used to implement crime reduction strategies involving youth. Similar information will also be gathered at the middle school level.
In addition, the police department will implement a Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program in conjunction with the D.A.R.E. program as part of an educational strategy to deter drug and gang involvement among students.
"As always, the Police Department will continue its community outreach efforts by working closely with the established Neighborhood Associations and community leaders to address neighborhood problems and quality of life issues," the release says.