youth car thefts

Republicans Say More Needs To Be Done To Deter Youth Car Thefts

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There’s a new legal decision allowing officers to get youth criminal records more quickly here in Connecticut.

But Republicans want more. They still want a special session to talk about youth crimes like car thefts. 

“I think it’s the public outcry. The public has to call their representatives and say enough is enough,” Rep. Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford, said. 

Fishbein and Republican leaders are calling for a special session this month to debate changes to laws that impact youth who interact with the criminal justice system. 

Youth car thefts have impacted communities across the state, but police in some instances say they can’t access enough information about a youth to detain them. 

Police have six hours to issue a detention order. 

“The ability for police to obtain juvenile records was already on the books,” Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, said. 

But now officers can get the information more quickly, with the latest court determination.

Stafstrom said they are also increasing the number of diversionary programs for first-time car thieves. He said it’s a game changer. 

“We need to let some of these new things we’ve put in place over the last few months rollout,” Stafstrom said.

Democrats like Stafstrom said a special session isn’t necessary.

“We know the detention of juveniles doesn’t change patterns of behavior,” Stafstrom said. 

Republicans say there’s nothing the changes do to deter youth car thefts. 

Car thefts and car break-ins continue to plague towns across Connecticut.

“It’s getting more vocal little by little. I think Rocky Hill is just an example of things just exploding,” Fishbein said. 

“These people aren’t afraid. They’re not afraid of getting caught which suggests to me that they perhaps feel there are no consequences,” Rocky Hill Police Chief Michael Custer said. 

Rocky Hill police said a carjacking took place in the parking lot of a local bakery. It’s one of several in the region that police believe are connected.

But there’s not much Fishbein can do as a Republican. 

“The gatekeeper to actually getting it done is the Democratic majority,” Fishbein said. 

“When the public has an issue like this they should be able to go to their legislators,” he said.

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