Calls for Change Amid Youth Crime Concerns

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Amid increases in some crimes there are calls for tougher laws, particularly involving kids.

After a wild stolen car chase and other violence, people headed to a Safe Streets Connecticut event in Glastonbury to learn more about crime – especially involving youth - and what’s being done to prevent it.

“It’s crazy. We just don’t feel safe like we did 20-something, 30 years ago,” said Beverly Scavetta of Glastonbury.

Now top state Republicans are calling for action, especially after the kidnapping of a woman in Marlborough and the rising number of murders in some cities.

“The real emergency facing Connecticut is the crime in our streets. It's not extending the governor's orders,” said Sen. Kevin Kelly, Senate Republican leader.

Those orders are Gov. Ned Lamont’s powers related to Covid-19 which are currently being debated.

And it’s the pandemic that some think might be partly to blame for a recent spike in murders and uptick in car thefts here and elsewhere.

“In every state in the country, regardless of whether the state has very tough on crime policies or perceived of soft, it doesn't matter. Same exact thing happening,” said Mike Lawlor, University of New Haven Criminal Justice associate professor.

While we wait for 2020 data, the most recent FBI report shows the violent crime rate in Connecticut has steadily dropped for decades.

That’s also true for car thefts.

And statistics from the state Judicial branch find youth car thefts decreased 19% for the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

“As it relates to young people especially, they've until very recently haven't been going to school and that's definitely a factor. Boredom is another thing,” said Lawlor.

Lawlor believes police do need better access to youth records, something the state has worked on recently to help stop repeat offenders.

Still many – including at the Glastonbury meeting – think more needs to be done.

“We still need to fix this. People shouldn't be fearful in their homes,” said Kelly.

The Senate Republican leader is calling for a special legislative session to work on this issue.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Senate Democrats for their reaction but have not yet heard back.

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