Rocky Hill Police say over the last year they’ve seen property crimes, like car thefts and car break-ins, more than double. They say pistol permit applications in town have also doubled.
“This is much more than a property issue. This is a personal safety issue,” said Rocky Hill resident Gabe Cabrera.
In six months, Gabe Cabrera says he’s had his car stolen and his car broken into. He says both times it happened in the middle of the day.
“It’s running rampant in this town, and someone has to do something about it. And there has to be accountability, and there isn’t any at this point,” said Cabrera.
Just over the weekend, Rocky Hill Police say 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.
At a community meeting with the mayor and other local lawmakers and law enforcement, residents expressed frustration and concern about the increase in crime. It’s a feeling that officials say they share.
“These people aren’t afraid. They’re not afraid of getting caught which suggests to me that they perhaps feel there are no consequences,” said Rocky Hill Police Chief Michael Custer.
“Unless and until the state steps in and collaborates with us and has changes made at the legislative level, we’re going to continue to see this happening,” said Rocky Hill Mayor Lisa Marotta.
Marotta says on the local level they have increased the number of officers on patrol, put in place a tip line to make it easier for people to report suspicious activity, and are working with communities to set up neighborhood watches.
State Representative Kerry Wood says a policy change taking place Wednesday should help law enforcement but agrees that, on the state level, more changes need to happen. She says she’s hoping to see it happen during a special session.
“Starting tomorrow the judicial branch has authorized a new procedure for law enforcement that will allow police departments the ability to see additional information regarding a juvenile’s prior criminal history,” said Wood.
The police chief says they’re working with other towns and cities in the area on a regional task force that’ll be spearheaded by Hartford Police. He hopes a 90-day blitz can help crush the crime spree.
“If we can make an impact in the first 90 days, maybe we can get some of these people off the streets or at least in programs where they can get some help,” said Custer.