New Canaanites express concern over rash of home break-ins
NEW CANAAN — New Canaan police offered insight and advice to residents who expressed concern about safety after a rash of home break-ins in the southeastern part of town.
Ted Langworth and Joshua Walsh, residents of Cedar Lane, spoke at the Dec. 14 New Canaan Police Commission meeting, asking officers what can be done by homeowners and law enforcement to protect their homes.
In the past month, four burglaries have been reported in southeast New Canaan on Gower, Dabney and Rosebrook roads. In September, police responded to a home burglary after a video surveillance system alerted a resident to a break-in at his Birchwood Avenue home. Burglars fled the scene as officers arrived. A home on Old Norwalk Road was broken into that same day.
Many of these incidents occurred during the day, and jewelry, among other valuables, was taken.
“In terms of concentration, they seem to be on the southeast side of town in a certain time frame,” DiFederico said. “They’re not afraid to flee from us.”
Krolikowski said many of the burglars are hoping for items they can sell for cash and are often not looking to confront residents, so many of the burglaries occur during the day, when homeowners are at work. Often, the burglars will strike during inclement weather and park their vehicle behind the homes they target. The vehicles in question tend to be larger cars, like Audis, Volkswagens and Subarus.
The commission also noted New Canaan’s southeastern neighborhoods may be targeted for their proximity to the highway, making a quick getaway for the culprits, many of whom drive in from other communities around the state.
When asked about what they were doing to increase police presence in the community, the commission said they were increasing patrol in the area.
“I’ve instructed our shifts to do concentrated patrol in these areas, run license plates readers,” said DiFederico, adding detectives also do undercover patrols. “The problem,” he said, is the police department is uncertain when exactly burglars will choose to commit their crimes and staffing “an area for an extended period of time is difficult.”
DiFederico said New Canaan detectives meet weekly with other departments around the area to compare incidents and find trends in the crimes to determine if the same group is responsible for break-ins in other towns.
“It’s not unique to New Canaan,” he said.
Police suggested residents take preventative measures such as locking doors and installing surveillance cameras and home security systems. However, the Cedar Lane residents expressed concern because the targeted homes did have those measures.
“As a homeowner, I don’t know if it’s worth investing in these options,” Walsh said. “I don’t know if it’s determined to make difference.”
However, police assured the men that properly used alarm systems will have police responding to a burglary within two to three minutes of getting an alert. The homes targeted in the town’s most recent break-ins had alarm systems, but the alarms were not set.
“The frustrating part was neither home had alarms set, so they made it easy for guys to come in,” Krolikowski said. “When alarms go off, they’re going to get out real fast.”
Police said the town has less than 100 reported burglaries a year, and measures like neighborhood watch groups (which the men expressed an interest in forming), locking cars and homes and reporting suspicious activity can make a difference in protecting the community.
“The good news is a high percentage of the time we catch these guys,” Krolikowski said. “It just sometimes takes some time before we catch them. We don’t have a lot of burglaries compared to other communities.
“It’s a safe town, but don’t be complacent,” he said. “If you report a little bit of information to us, it can be helpful.”