Police: Property Crimes On The Rise

The Westport Police Department says;

As the COVID-19 quarantines and associated restrictions have gradually eased in Connecticut, you may have noticed an increase in daily vehicular traffic throughout Fairfield County.

Unfortunately, traffic is not all that seems to be on the rise. What has been the most striking to the Westport Police Department is a marked increase in property crimes.

Comparing an approximately 40-day period from late May to early July in 2019 and 2020, statistics indicate an upward trend.

Within this period in 2019, the department investigated 3 stolen motor vehicle complaints. In 2020 we have investigated a total of 10 within the same time period, while an 11th stolen vehicle from another jurisdiction was recovered here.

In every case, the stolen vehicle was left unlocked with keys inside overnight. Some of these vehicles were recovered in other jurisdictions, but many remain unaccounted for.

Almost always closely tied to motor vehicle thefts are burglaries of parked and unoccupied vehicles in driveways.

In the specified time frame in 2019, the department handled 5 incidents of motor vehicles being entered/burglarized. In 2020 we handled 11 of these types of incidents in that same time frame.

In all recent cases, the vehicles were left unlocked. In multiple cases, wallets containing credit cards were stolen and subsequently used to make  purchases.  The actual numbers of these types of incidents are assumed to be higher than as reported, as many residents do not notify police in situations where vehicles were entered but nothing of any significant value appears to have been taken.

In this sample period in 2019, the department investigated 3 burglary complaints (2 commercial, 1 residentail).  In this same stretch of time in 2020 we have investigated 6 residential burglaries, 4 of which included forced entry.  The most brazen was perpetrated in the overnight hours while the home was occupied and the residents asleep. Entry was gained through an unlocked door.

Footage from a Nest camera last weekend shows a burglar casing out an an Old Hill area home.

In 2019, the department responded to 1 shoplifting incident within this timeframe. In the same period in 2020, we have responded to 8 such complaints.

Please let this data serve as a stark reminder that property crimes and theft seem to be trending upward in Westport.  Again, this is a small sample in time of slightly more than a month, but it merits careful attention.

Measures are being taken by the department to stop or slow this trend.  Preventative measures such as locking doors, arming alarms and securing valuables, coupled with the vigilance of our officers, is the key to safeguarding our neighborhoods.

If you observe suspicious activity in your neighborhood, please don’t delay in contacting us. Maintaining public safety and security is only possible through a continued partnership with the residents we proudly serve.

No one knows your neighborhood better than you do. The information and feedback provided by our community is vital to our crime prevention efforts and overall effectiveness as a law enforcement agency.

14 responses to “Police: Property Crimes On The Rise

  1. As long as people keep leaving their cars unlocked and with keys and wallets inside we will continue to create a market for car theft. There have been 6 or 7 (maybe more) incidents of car burglaries in the last two years. Every time the police remind people to lock your valuables away. Why are people still doing this?!

  2. Seth Goltzer

    I’ll just bet, a lot of people reading this column support defunding the Police or the Politicians that advocate it….just a thought.

  3. Brandon Lee

    This is what happens when you people vote in democrat politicians and advocate for the defunding of police.

    • You’re kidding, right?

      • Brandon Lee

        Does it sound like I’m joking?

        • No. However, it is quite hilarious to conflate “Democrat politicians” (in a town with a Republican 1st selectman”) who “advocate for the defunding of police” with a well-financed local police department, and a recent rise in crime. Please let me know the connection.

  4. Harry Smiley

    Talk to your politicians who put laws into place that make it impossible for the Police to do their jobs. As long as it’s just property police cannot pursue the criminal. So the criminals know this and crime is rising. As soon as the criminal hits the gas its a free pass.

    • Jack Backiel

      Harry, you wrote, “As long as it’s just property police cannot pursue the criminal.“ What does that mean? Give me a concrete exam of police not being able to pursue and arrest someone. Am I missing something here?

      • Harry Smiley

        Sure, a criminal steals property whether from a house or store a car whatever, if the police happen to see the criminal driving away in car and try to stop them and the criminal refuses to stop, the police can not chase

  5. Jack Backiel

    Harry, Can the police put up a road block down the street, or spikes to flatten their tires? Can they obtain their license number and eventually track them down that way? Chasing cars at speeds of 100 miles an hour is dangerous for sure, but you’re not claiming because they refuse to stop they’re home free from prosecution, right? This is a safety decision related to speed, right?

  6. Did any of these houses have dogs or a gated driveway? We grew up in Westport but my Dad grew up in Queens. He taught me to ALWAYS lock my car .. even in Westport .. and I did! Then people made fun & we moved to N Stamford with a gated driveway & 3 guard type dogs. Eden Road near the Italian Center had 2 cars stolen out of driveways last week. I guess I should listen to my Dad & lock every night again?