Extra patrols curb rise in car burglaries in Wallingford

Extra patrols curb rise in car burglaries in Wallingford


WALLINGFORD — After police made staffing adjustments in February to combat a spike in vehicle burglaries, the number of break-ins reported each month has decreased.

Following a spike of 19 reported burglaries in February, police increased overnight staffing. Monthly totals for burglaries have since dropped, generally ranging between 10 and 13.

Police Chief William Wright said he would still like to see them lower.

“We’d like it be zero, but thankfully it’s at least holding steady as we continue to work on this issue,” Wright said. “It’s a chess game, really.”

Wright attributed the decrease to more officers on overnight, the targeting of areas where car burglaries frequently occur, and more residents locking their cars at night.

Monthly totals for reported break-ins this year, according to Wallingford police, are 16 in January, 19 in February, 7 in March, 12 in April, 11 in May, 10 in June, 13 in July, 9 in August as of Aug. 17.

According to information provided by police, the majority occur near the center of town, where there is a higher concentration of vehicles.

In many cases, thieves are traveling along residential streets and searching for unlocked cars. On Feb. 20, for example, three residents of Patricks Court reported their car was burglarized, including resident Mike Agro.

“You feel unsafe, violated,” Agro said in February after burglars rifled through an unlocked car in his driveway and took a handful of change. “It’s a wake-up call. We’ve been here for 20 years, never had a problem.”

The problem of break-ins is not confined to Wallingford. In Southington, resident Jeremy Glazewski joined with neighbors to start a neighborhood watch following a rash of vehicle break-ins this summer.

“You feel a little violated,” said Glazewski, whose vehicle was rummaged though one night when he forgot to lock it.

Wallingford police recently arrested an 18-year-old and two juveniles caught going through cars at the Oakdale Theatre on South Turnpike Road. Another 18-year-old and two juveniles were apprehended in a stolen car while they were canvassing neighborhoods to commit car break-ins, according to Lt. Michael Colavolpe.

When it comes to vehicle pursuits to apprehend suspects, Wright said, several factors are considered.

“Violations, traffic, weather conditions, speed, time of the day, performance capability of the cruiser and the suspect vehicle all come into play,” Wright said. “Our officers and supervisors are making critical decisions in real time that are designed to keep the residents and our officers safe, while at the same time weighing the value of initiating a pursuit to begin with. It is a continual balancing act.”

mzabierek@record-journal.com 203-317-2279 Twitter: @MatthewZabierek

A map of vehicle burglaries reported to Wallingford police from Jan. 1, 2017, to Aug. 17.

The map reflects incidents in which property was stolen from a vehicle, but the vehicle itself was not stolen.

Location pins are colored by the month the incident occurred:

January (16 total incidents): Red

February (19): Orange

March (7): Yellow-Green

April (12): Green

May (10): Blue

June (10): Teal

July (13): Purple

August 1-17 (9): Silver

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