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.

‘It’s a Nice Draw’: Weed-Eating Goats Return to Irwin Park

For the third year in a row, a well-loved park welcomed goats to a cordoned-off area in an effort to eliminate invasive weeds. Five goats, some of which are very young, arrived two weeks ago at Irwin Park, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. Eddie, Caramel, Cookie, and two unnamed goats will be living in the park through the summer, Garden Club member Alice Wyman said. Introduced to the Weed Street park two summers ago thanks to research by the New Canaan Garden Club, goats have “definitely helped to reduce [the weeds],” Mann said. 

Asked about why goats are used to eradicate invasive species, Mann said, “They’ll eat anything. They like poison ivy.”

“Goat herders say it’s like candy,” he added.

Goat in Irwin Park Gets Head Stuck in Fence

One of the goats at Irwin Park got its head stuck in a fence Sunday morning, prompting a passerby to phone authorities. 

Members of the New Canaan Fire Department responded to a call about the difficulty at about 9:31 a.m., according to dispatch records. According to Fire Capt. John Raidt, the goat in question—one of three brought in last summer to help rid the property of invasive plants—routinely gets its head stuck in the wire fence that forms a corral at the western end of the park. “That’s why they are not at the top of the food chain, but people do stupid things too,” Raidt said. By the time firefighters arrived, the goat had freed itself. “No special tools, no tactics,” Raidt said of the Fire Department’s rescue.

Selectman Williams: Concerns About Waveny Park Safety Have Been ‘Politicized’

A town official on Tuesday voiced concerns about the characterization of New Canaan’s most heavily used park as unsafe. Saying he believed that some of the talk around town about the safety of Waveny Park was “misguided a bit,” Selectman Nick Williams raised the issue during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. While saying that he was “in favor of safety,” Williams asserted that “Waveny is one of the best parks in America and one of the safest parks in America.” Speaking during a section of the Board’s agenda dedicated to general town matters, Williams said that suggestions to the contrary were “perhaps politicized,” but was not specific about how. “I think it’s unfortunate that people are talking about Waveny as if it’s Central Park in the 1970s,” Williams said.