Rise in Crime: New Canaan Police Request $200,000-Plus To Boost Security in Parks, Downtown


Noting that the town is seeing a rise in crimes such as thefts at public parks and the business district, the chief of police is seeking $200,000-plus to bolster safety through a series of initiatives.

The funds would be targeted toward improved security at Waveny ($25,000) and Irwin Parks ($75,000), as well as the downtown ($125,000), according to New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.

“Given the crime we have seen and the concerns expressed by our residents, I think it’s a perfect time for us to build on what’s been done and improve on it,” Krolikowski said during the Feb. 16 meeting of the Police Commission, held at police headquarters and via videoconference.

New Canaan had “an unprecedented” number of motor vehicle thefts in 2021, Krolikowski said, something police are “very concerned about”—up to 39 last year, from 27 in 2020 and just 10 in 2019. (The chief added that 80% of the time, the stolen vehicles had been left unlocked, often with the keys inside.) Criminals also have hit the public parks, Krolikowski said, knowing that visitors park their cars and leave for a walk, and in some cases have broken the windows of motor vehicles to get inside.

Though NCPD investigators do make arrests in many cases, those likely could be made faster and more effectively with more tools, Krolikowski said.

“Our intent is to adapt to changing crime trends and evolving technology to try to adopt best practices when we are implementing these initiatives,” he said.

New Canaan has seen complex frauds and ID thefts, residential burglaries and organized thefts from retail establishments—including a jewelry store break-and-enter on Elm Street that “if these initiatives were in place that would have helped with that investigation,” Krolikowski said.

He noted that security cameras are not only a useful investigative tool but also can serve as an effective crime prevention measure.

“They’re not necessarily going to prevent a crime from happening but they capture events happening and they help us with investigations,” Krolikowski said. “And sometimes if people see a camera that are going to do ill will, they’ll decide to change their behavior and go somewhere else and do that, and that’s exactly what we would like to happen.”

Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 in favor of the funding request. Krolikowski said he would bring it to the town funding bodies—the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, and Town Council—with the expectation that they will “enthusiastically embrace it and approve it, because we believe it will do great things for our town and comfort everyone and move things forward in a true partnership between the Police Department and Public Works and Information Technology.”

Krolikowski has been seeking the tool for months and, in some cases, years, according to his presentation. 

In December, Krolikowski during a selectmen meeting noted that although he had advised First Selectman Kevin Moynihan more than eight months prior that security cameras should be strategically installed at several locations in town in order to deter crime and help investigators, progress hadn’t been made.

Moynihan said in response, “The chief has to come up with a plan. Public Works has supported anything that has been requested and we have spent our money and we have requested it and we have implemented it to protect property and to protect lives.”

During his presentation to the Police Commission last month, Krolikowski cited memos from July and August 2019 (for increased security in Waveny) and March 2021 (Irwin Park and the downtown).

McLaughlin asked Krolikowski why the request for funds for Waveny was so much less than Irwin, though Waveny has a larger area and more parking. The chief said it was because some progress already had been made at Waveny.

“Additional funds may be requested but we believe this will accommodate the majority of our requests,” Krolikowski said.

One thought on “Rise in Crime: New Canaan Police Request $200,000-Plus To Boost Security in Parks, Downtown

  1. Most of us in New Canaan have long supported more security cameras in our strategic locations including our parks. It is a tragedy that after so many years this is still a problem and still without the full and prompt support of the person elected First Selectman…but then again, we have met the enemy and he is us.

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