New Canaan has seen a dramatic increase in thefts from motor vehicles through the first four months of 2020, officials said last week.
The larcenies increased from two in 2019 to 17 this year, according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.
“People are just not locking their cars and [they are] leaving their keys in cars that are getting stolen,” Krolikowski said during a May 20 meeting of the Police Commission, held via videoconference.
“We did have a window broken on a vehicle and a lot of items stolen in it. I suspect because the thieves came in and saw so many valuable items in the car that they decided to break the window and take everything. But that is not the norm. The norm is the car is locked, they move on to the next driveway for easier pickings, so to speak.”
Residents regularly report unlocked cars being entered illegally on their properties—sometimes with keys inside—and that items are taken from them or the cars themselves are stolen. Earlier this year, a purse was stolen from a parked car during a smash-and-grab at Irwin Park.
Krolikowski’s comments came during an update to the Commission on statistics across a wide range of police areas.
As predicted and as police had also seen during March, psychiatric calls rose sharply year-over-year in April, from seven to 19. Police will “continue to see that as people feel anxiety and stress and underlying health issues come out as a result of the pandemic,” Krolikowski said.
“The stress that everyone is feeling,” he said.
Medical assist calls through the first four months of the year are up from 431 to 452, he said, due to the COVID-19 virus, while motor vehicle accidents are down with fewer cars on the road.