New Canaan Police Commissioner Pushes for Hardline Prosecution of Car Thieves

Those caught after breaking into or stealing cars from New Canaan typically get off easy since their cases are classified as property rather than violent crimes, officials said this week. It’s rare for car thieves to go to jail, New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said Wednesday. “Usually they’ll get released and it’s kind of a revolving door,” Krolikowski said during a regular meeting of the Police Commission, in response to a question about the thefts. “Lots of times they get arrested multiple times. I’ve heard of cases where people have been arrested dozens of times and the people still aren’t in jail.

Police: Psychiatric Calls Up, Car Crashes Down Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

New Canaan Police reported last week that car crashes are down significantly in 2020. Police Chief Leon Krolikowski told members of the Police Commission during their regular meeting Oct. 21 that motor vehicle accidents with property damage are down 41% through September of this year compared to last, from 293 to 172, while accidents with injuries are down 36% in the same period, from 33 to 21. “I think that is related to the dramatic decrease in traffic that we saw due to COVID,” Krolikowski said during the meeting, held via videoconference. 

As police anticipated, authorities also have seen a steep rise of psychiatric calls, which doubled in March amid the early weeks of the pandemic here and are up  54%, from 26 to 40 year-to-date through September. 

“That is a pretty good increase and our officers are certainly doing a great job with our crisis intervention teams and dealing with people who have pretty profound behavioral health issues that we are trying to deal with as effectively as we can,” Krolikowski said.

Police: Down 29% in 2020, Motor Vehicle Violations To Start Rising

Police say they expect to see the number of ticketed motorists rise after falling off steeply in the past six months due to changes that followed the onset of COVID-19 virus. Through August, the number of ticketed motorists in 2020 was down 29% from the year-ago period, from 2,388 to 1,687, according to data released during the Sept. 16 meeting of the Police Commission. “COVID issues had a lot to do with that,” Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said during the meeting, held via videoconference. 

“A lot of people weren’t driving and the officers were kind of responding to the more critical calls that they needed to. We are starting to see motor vehicle violations pick up and enforcement pick up as, more or less, the state opens up and everyone gets a little bit more comfortable.

Police: Reports of ‘Suspicious People’ Rise with Motor Vehicle Thefts

The number of calls New Canaan Police are receiving about “suspicious” people in vehicles has risen dramatically this year, officials said Wednesday. Through August, the total number of such calls was up 34% year-over-year, from 192 to 257, according to data shared at a regular meeting of the Police Commission. “It’s an interesting development,” Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said in response to a question about why the figure is up so much. 

“And I suspect there are a portion of our residents who are seeing suspicious activity and calling us because of the stolen vehicles and thefts from vehicles, et cetera,” Krolikowski said during the meeting, held via videoconference .” And that has resulted in that uptick. But sadly, there is another percentage of residents that are just not paying attention and their cars are getting stolen, things are getting stolen from their cars. So the good news is the message is getting out there about calling us when people see suspicious vehicles or activity.

Town Officials Urge State To Delay Route 123 Project Until Spring 2021

Saying they’re concerned about starting a construction project so close to a major holiday as well as the date that asphalt plants shut down for winter, town officials voted Wednesday night to urge the state to put off a bridge replacement along Route 123 to next spring. As it stands, the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s replacement of a box culvert just north of the state road’s intersection of Glen Drive would start Oct. 12 and continue for an estimated three weeks. The work will require closing Route 123 in both directions. 

Yet the contractor on the job has itself asked for a delay because the materials for the culvert now won’t be available until Nov. 2, meaning any bad weather will delay the project into December, according to New Canaan Public Works Director Tiger Mann.