In communities around the state residents are attending town meetings voicing concern over the rise in crime. Specifically, car thefts and break-ins. But as people grow frustrated, some police departments are concerned about people taking measures into their own hands.
Grappling with the recent crime spike in their town, Glastonbury citizens gathered Tuesday night at a Town Council meeting to express frustration and fear.
“I am a person who lives alone, and I am scared to death,” said Judith Stronger. “I’m not going to get a gun but I feel like I’m stupid for not having a gun”
That thought process has police concerned. At Manchester’s Board of Directors meeting Tuesday, Chief William Darby said his department has seen a drastic increase in pistol permit applications over the past few years.
“I believe that people are arming themselves because they want to feel safe in their homes,” said Darby.
Darby explained that of the pistol permit applications he’s seeing, many of them are people in their 50s and 60s and have never owned a gun before.
“People think it’s OK to use deadly force to protect your personal property. It’s not,” said Darby.
In both Manchester and Glastonbury, there have been recent incidents where car thieves have been seen in broad daylight with weapons. On July 10, a car was stolen from a home on Manchester’s Hillcrest Road. Residents in that neighborhood, who spoke with NBC Connecticut Wednesday, shared their thoughts on town residents applying for gun permits.
“As long as they take a safety class, that’s what’s important if they’re going to have a pistol permit,” said Mary McNamara.
Mike Nussbaum said he was a victim of a break-in last year. His mountain bike was stolen out of his garage. He wouldn’t get a gun himself but understands why some might.
“It seems a little silly to me but if it makes you feel safe then I guess it’s appropriate,” Nussbaum said.
Because of increased public concern, Glastonbury Police have recently formed an auto theft team. Lt. Corey Davis says this team will be hyper-focused on these types of crimes and says residents should not consider using force on their own.
“We would recommend that if someone encounters the suspects you should consider them armed and dangerous but you should not confront them, you should be calling the police,” Davis said.