The town last week approved contracts to install two light posts with security cameras in the front parking lot at Irwin Park.
New Canaan has “had some criminal incidents there, one recently about a month ago and some residents had expressed concern,” according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.
“And that is in line with the folks that come in from out-of-state and commit crimes in our parks,” Krolikowski told the Board of Selectmen at its Nov. 15 meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “So certainly installing these light posts will help and also we intend to install cameras within the light posts.”
Selectman Nick Williams said he appreciated the thoughtfulness that the New Canaan Police Department had put into its request for the light posts at Irwin “because I think we want to get it right.”
“You guys have done a great job,” Williams said.
He added, “And I’m 150% behind this, as much as I can be, because we know there’s been an increase in crime in New Canaan and other parts of Fairfield County, the whole state of Connecticut, and this is one way we could address that and I think will give comfort to most of our residents, hopefully.”
Williams voted in favor of a $12,785 contract with Hussey Brothers, as did First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Kathleen Corbet. The work will also include a $4,700 contract with Darien Electric for the installation, the chief said.
The item is “in line with our overall security plan” for town parks and the downtown that already was approved by the town, Krolikowski said.
He highlighted the work of New Canaan Police officers and detectives who have been dealing with what is a county- and state-wide issue where technology and video “is very important in the investigations.”
“Sometimes we run it down and there is no one to point to, and other times we are able to secure arrest warrants and arrest people from out-of-state that are committing these crimes in our town,” Krolikowski said. “And like I mentioned, a very high profile resident contacted me and said she was very concerned about having her vehicle parked in the park there because we had had an attempted break-in there. The good news is the car is locked, and these folks will break a window or jimmy a lock to try and get into a vehicle if they think there is something valuable in there. So once again the message is, lock your car and take all valuables out of your car and it’s likely you won’t become a victim. But this is certainly going to help us after the fact with investigations and hopefully these criminals are watching today, maybe they’ll stay away from New Canaan.”
The selectmen asked whether the two light posts would be sufficient (yes) and whether the lights would be bothersome to neighbors (no, they shouldn’t be able to see them and any concerns will be addressed as they arise).
Williams asked whether the project was funded.
Krolikowski said that yes, there’s a $200,000 line item in the budget, of which just $16,000 has been spent so far.
“So there’s plenty of money there and this is a long deliberate process,” the chief said. “This is a little more complicated than some of the other improvements we’ve made. But you will see other, similarly complicated projects that move forward in the parks.”