12/9/2020 - A message from Chief Don Anderson to the residents of Darien - December 2020

A message from Chief Don Anderson to the residents of Darien

December 9, 2020


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 Bridgeport. 

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.