January 19, 2001
DRUG SALES NEAR SCHOOLS, DAY CARE CENTERS, AND PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS
By: George Coppolo, Chief Analyst
You asked us to survey the police departments of certain cities to find out if they use a charging map to decide whether illegal drug sales occurred within 1,500 feet of a school, a licensed child day care center, or public housing property. As you know, drug offenses occurring within 1,500 feet of these facilities are subject to an enhanced criminal penalty (see CGS § 21a-27a(b), 21a-279(d), and 21a-267(c)).
We contacted the police departments of the following cities by letter and by phone: Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Stamford, and Waterbury. Five of the seven (Bridgeport, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, and Waterbury) reported that they use a map to determine whether a drug crime occurred within 1,500 feet of a school, a child day care center, or a public housing project.
Although we asked each of these five departments to provide us with a copy of the map they use in making the determination, only New Haven and Norwalk have done so. The New Haven map identifies the schools, housing projects, and day care centers; is color coded; and shows the 1,500-foot radius around these properties. Following is a copy of that map.
Map 1: New Haven – 1500 ft Buffer for Schools, Daycare Centers, and Housing Authority Projects
Public, Private, Charter, and Head Start Schools
New Haven Housing Authority Projects
Daycare Centers (More than 12 children)
As you can see, based on this map, it appears that almost all of the city of New Haven is covered.
The Norwalk map is not as helpful. It is a copy of the municipal zoning map. It shows school locations but not child care centers or public housing properties. Further, it does not show a 1,500-foot radius around the schools.
The Hartford Police Department reported that it uses a computer program to make the determination. Its Computer Aided Dispatch System has plotted all schools, housing projects, and day care addresses. The computer compares the incident address with longitude and latitude and determines if it is within 1,500 feet.
The Stamford Police Department indicated that it does not use a map. But it did not answer our question concerning what method it does use.