New Canaan Police See Early Decline in Thefts from Motor Vehicles, Stolen Cars

New Canaan Police are seeing a year-over-year drop in stolen vehicles and larcenies from cars through the early part of 2017—a positive change for the community that authorities attribute to the arrests of criminals as well as education among residents.

Larcenies from vehicles are down from 11 to 1 year-to-date, according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.

Also, New Canaan at this point in 2016 had seen three stolen vehicles, and so far this year has seen none, Krolikowski told members of the Police Commission on Wednesday night.

Nearly all stolen vehicles “involve keys left inside” the car, he said during the meeting, held in the training room at the New Canaan Police Department.

Commissioners Stuart Sawabini and Sperry Decew were present in person, while commissioner Paul Foley attended via speakerphone.

Krolikowski said the downward trend in larcenies from cars here likely is “due to groups getting caught and arrested and not hitting the town as frequently as they were, or the state.”

New Canaan starting about three years ago saw a steady uptick in larcenies from cars—and at certain periods when coordinated criminal efforts, a concentration of thefts of vehicles themselves. In one night in July 2015, police received reports of more than one dozen thefts from parked cars in town. As recently as September and again in November (at the train station), police saw motor vehicles stolen in town.

The police department also has recovered stolen vehicles and made arrests in connection with the thefts. Examples include the arrest of a teenager two summers ago in connection with the theft of a SUV from a Ponus Ridge driveway, an arrest last May of a man charged in connection with thefts from 14 cars in New Canaan and an arrest in November of a man accused of trying to enter parked cars at Waveny.

Here are some tips from Krolikowski to help residents beat motor vehicle thieves:

  1. Be a Good Neighbor: Report suspicious persons or vehicles immediately to our Department via 203-594-3500 or via 911 if you see a crime in progress. Crime prevention is the best cure.
  2. Do Not Leave Valuables or Financial Information In Your Car: Never leave valuables, a purse, wallet or financial information in your car-even just for a few minutes. Thieves often watch vehicles and strike when you leave your vehicle only for a few minutes.
  3. Keys: Never leave the keys to your home or car inside a vehicle or in a place where a thief can find them. Keys placed in “secret” hiding places may invite a crime. Thieves know where to look for hidden keys.
  4. Light Up Your Home: At night, keep the perimeter of your home well lit. Low energy lighting switched on and off by photoelectric sensors (low light switches) is a cost-effective way to discourage thieves. Often thefts from vehicles occur in residential driveways.
  5. Lock Up: Always lock all doors and windows of your vehicle whenever you leave it, even for a short time.
  6. Park In Well-Lit, Public Areas: Avoid parking your vehicle in isolated areas where there is not much traffic. Thefts in New Canaan often occur in parking lots or areas of our parks that are isolated.
  7. Use Your Alarm System: Always activate your alarm system, even when you are at home, and whenever you leave your house or vehicle—even for a short time. Many successful thefts that occur in our Town involve houses or vehicles that have alarm systems that were not activated.

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