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Police chief: Crime down by 21 percent

Published 11:58 am, Saturday, January 25, 2014
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Major crime in New Canaan declined by about 21 percent in 2013, according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.

The crimes included in the statistics are burglary, assault, murder, family disputes, sex offenses, vandalism, larceny and vehicle thefts. According to the chief's report, there were 216 incidents in 2013, down from 274 in 2012.

Krolikowski revealed the numbers during his department's budget presentation at a joint meeting of the boards of Selectmen and Finance and the Town Council Jan. 14.

Assault and vandalism incidents, for instance, were down from 20 to 17 and 27 to 17, respectively, last year.

One major decrease was the number of reported domestic violence incidents. There were 48 in 2013, down from 82 in 2012. The department has a special unit dedicated to domestic violence.

Krolikowski said, however, there is "no one precise factor" why crime went down, but he said that's a national trend and that New Canaan officers have been working pro-actively.

At the budget presentation, Krolikowski said the department's short-term goal is to keep crime low while its long-term goal is to keep crime trending down.

"We're going to do that by having pro-active patrols, by using current technology," among other ways, he said.

The department is seeking funds to buy a license plate reader, which would be mounted on a police car to automatically read the markers of all cars that pass. The department made the same request last year, but it was denied.

Calls for service and false alarms were also down in 2013. There were 16,123 calls in 2013, down from 16,741 in 2012 -- a 3.7 percent decrease. The number of false alarms was 1,133 in 2013, down from 1,202 in 2012. Part of that, Krolikowski said, is because of the false alarm reduction program.

The Police Department is also planning to hire two new officers. One of them would be assigned full time to the high school. Krolikowski said school safety is a priority of the department.

"There were 23 school shootings (nationally) last year, and that's only going to increase," he said. "School safety is a big thing for me. That's my obligation."

Krolikowski said it is "critical" to hire two new officers who would help the department provide more services to the community.

Despite the positive numbers, Krolikowski said there's been increase in international cases and cyber crime. He said the department has seen scams and identity theft cases in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those investigations take a lot of time and effort, he said.

"There's a lot of fraud; there's a lot of international crime," Krolikowsi said. "It's not like 20 years ago when there was a burglary and a detective would go and investigate just that ... We're seeing ATM scamming things where people from overseas are coming here installing devices on ATMs here and stealing from our people in town."

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson