Manchester town officials are voting on a proposed “Community Protection Resolution” after an increase in car thefts and other crimes.
Town leaders in Manchester are calling on Governor Lamont to ask for a special session of the legislators to discuss a rise in crime and public safety.
The Board of Directors says the reason for this proposal is an increase in car thefts, shootings and other serious crimes in the area. The meeting included support for the proposal, from some who’ve been directly affected.
Manchester Police say on July 10 they responded to a home on Hillcrest Road. There, residents witnessed their car being stolen by an armed suspect. Matt Farrell, who lives in that home was among those at the Board of Directors' meeting.
"I am convinced someone’s going to get killed," Farrell said. "I don’t know if it’s going to be a homeowner. I don’t know if it’s going to be a police officer. I don’t know if it’s going to be an assailant."
Manchester Mayor Jay Moran says what Farrell experienced is becoming too common in town. Moran says they have seen a spike in this type of activity.
"The chief was telling me there’s been some cars that have been broken into. It’s not just that they’re trying to get in they are breaking the glass to get in," Moran, D-Manchester, said.
Moran says the immediate concern is safety. The resolution focuses on stopping crimes committed by youth offenders. Manchester residents who spoke showed both support and opposition for the resolution.
"I don’t believe that just stealing a car in itself is enough for us to go to the governor saying 'we want the laws changed,'" Linda Harris said.
"These kids know the system better than anyone sitting at that board right now. They know what’s going to happen to them which is nothing. Because we treat these kids like they're shoplifting bubble gum from Walgreens," Chris Hopkins said.
Manchester isn’t alone in addressing the spike in stolen vehicles. Bordering town Glastonbury recently formed a dedicated auto theft team, specifically focused on reducing thefts and increasing arrests.
"It’s not a Manchester problem it’s a state problem. We’re seeing this action all across the state," Moran said.
Moran says he believes Manchester will do something similar to Glastonbury. He says they will put together a subcommittee of local elected officials, police representatives, and state legislators to determine actions they need to take.