A message from Chief Don Anderson to the residents of
December 9, 2020
YOUR CAR. EVERY TIME. EVERYWHERE.
Over a decade ago, the Darien
Police Department had decals placed on the rear window of every patrol vehicle
that read “LOCK YOUR CAR. EVERY TIME. EVERYWHERE.” And yet, here we are, closing out the year
2020, a year of unsettling global pandemic, with unlocked car burglaries and
stolen vehicles a pandemic of our own.
These incidents are occurring across the State of Connecticut and they
all have one thing in common; the vehicles are left unlocked, all too often
with keys and valuables left inside. Ongoing investigations and arrests
region-wide indicate most of these crimes are being perpetrated by juvenile or
other youthful offenders who tend to return to those areas where they are often
“successful.” Additionally, the current
state of the Juvenile Justice system in Connecticut is one that does not lend
itself to a strong sense of providing deterrence or personal accountability
when a juvenile is apprehended in criminal activity.
Just last week, officers from
the Darien Police Department responded to a report of stolen motor vehicles in
the area of Long Neck Point. One of the
vehicles involved purposely drove right at police officers, who were out of
their patrol cars and on foot, in an effort to avoid apprehension. A short pursuit ensued on our local streets
which was properly discontinued due to overriding safety concerns in accordance
with state pursuit statutes. Other motorists were in the area at the time of
the incident; we were fortunate that no residents or children were placed
directly in harm’s way. The vehicle(s) involved were then spotted and pursued
by the Connecticut State Police at high speeds on I-95 North all the way to
Within the last year, a
Darien officer patrolling stopped a suspicious car off the Post Road in the middle
of the night. It was determined by this
trained officer that the youthful occupants in the vehicle were probably here
in town to commit criminal activity.
Through the diligent investigatory efforts of the patrol officer, a
loaded handgun was located in the vehicle and seized. Subsequent forensic testing on this firearm
conclusively linked it to a homicide that occurred in the Town of Stratford.
Our investigators have very
recently connected a juvenile car burglary suspect from an unlocked vehicle incident
here in Darien to a dangerous shooting incident in another Connecticut
jurisdiction. We are actively
investigating many of our other similar incidents with a fair measure of
anticipated success. Our officers are out there patrolling all of our neighborhoods,
especially during the overnight hours.
We are fully engaged with county, regional and federal officials on
these ongoing vehicle burglaries and thefts and we expect additional
apprehensions and arrests will be forthcoming.
Many of the stolen cars taken
from Darien have turned up in bigger cities in Connecticut (Waterbury,
Bridgeport, New Haven and others) as well as in New York and New Jersey. They
most assuredly have been used in many crimes, including crimes of violence. Just yesterday afternoon, December 8, 2020, a
Waterbury Police Officer was shot while investigating a stolen vehicle incident
where a vehicle involved was barreling down on police officers at high speed.
Thankfully, his life was saved by his ballistic vest and quick medical
treatment. Apprehensions were made and
additional arrests are expected. So, my
question today to our residents is this; what will it take?
With complete candor; I don’t
want to be the Chief of Police who has to be in a position to say, “I told you
so.” So, what will it take? It will simply take a second to ensure that
your vehicle is properly locked with all of your valuables secured. It is seemingly a very easy request when
measured up against what could occur. I
am quite reasonably apprehensive that any one of these preventable incidents
could again put our officers, our residents or any member of the public in
imminent or grave danger.
As we move through the holiday season and into 2021,
please help us help you.
LOCK YOUR CAR. EVERY TIME. EVERYWHERE.