In the wake of an uptick in car break-ins, a group of Wallingford residents has come together to work with police on possible solutions and to get to know their neighbors so “we can look out for one another.”
Although this commendable exercise in civic engagement and civic action may not yet constitute a “neighborhood watch” movement, it has some of the hallmarks of one, as a grassroots effort of neighbors looking out for neighbors and willing to work hand in hand with the police to make their community safer.
The group of about 30 people, organized on Facebook by resident Jessica Teta, held an initial meeting at the town’s Parks & Recreation Department building on Fairfield Boulevard and plans to continue meeting there once a month.
As for the police, Chief William Wright said he is looking forward to talking with residents. “… I think there’s a lot of information that we have that we can share to our community,” he said.
Although officers were added to the overnight shift after a spate of car break-ins early last year in Wallingford, it’s obvious that no town can eliminate all automobile break-ins. And the problem isn’t limited to one town; some Southington residents formed a watch group after a spike in break-ins last summer.
But police point out that there is one thing all residents can do to make break-ins less likely: remove valuables from their vehicles and keep them locked.
Wright said the department’s community police unit is willing to help residents looking to form watch groups, but what’s happening in Wallingford is clearly a bottom-up movement of concerned residents working together to improve their community.