On Wednesday night, more than 50 people came out to express how they’ve felt over the last several weeks after hearing about violent crimes in the parking lot of a Hamden shopping plaza.
In one of the incidents, a 74-year-old woman was attacked and carjacked earlier this month.
“I cannot shop in my own town. None of my neighbors shop here anymore. None of my friends shop here anymore,” said one resident.
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Hamden police said they’re down 16 officers but are in the process of hiring and expect to complete those hires in the coming months. In addition to normal patrols in the area, there will be an increase in marked and unmarked police cars and private security.
The police chief said they also have a crime deterrent unit that focuses on the area and will have cops on bicycles there as the weather warms up.
A statement from the plaza’s owner was read during the meeting said that they’ve upgraded lighting, installed surveillance cameras, increased the presence of a private security company, and are working with the town to add additional police patrols, which includes hiring extra duty officers.
“We need to work together, and we’re only going to solve this by working together,” said Hamden Police Chief John Sullivan.
“The main thing was to let the public know the initiatives that we’re taking as a police department. But I think the purpose of tonight is to also hear from the community, hear their concerns, and what they want from us as a police department,” said Detective Sean Dolan.
The Hamden Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships Council hosted the public safety community forum. The forum included police, the mayor, and the associate director at the UConn Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy.
While many residents in person and virtually expressed their concern, others said they want officers to know they’ll be an extra set of eyes to help.
“I’m out there. I’m an Uber driver. I’m out there early morning, late-night, and if I can be of any assistance, I’m going to call. I’m going to do whatever I can to help this community be safe,” said one resident.
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