Some recent, actual, headlines in here in Connecticut:
Security officer shot during shoplifting attempt at Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester
Delivery driver dragged 500 feet during carjacking in Wallingford
Carjackers punched, pistol whipped 70-year-old man at gas station in Orange
Do you feel safe? While you are pumping gas in Wallingford, or North Haven? Do you think twice in your own neighborhood, or anywhere else across our district or state?
The reality is that law-abiding citizens in Connecticut do not feel safe. Notice our towns that I named above, which I proudly represent. I did not name these towns at random. These towns, and others, are examples of real-life incidents in our own backyards: parking lot car thefts in broad daylight, and a homeowner fired upon while attempting to prevent a thief from sawing-off his car’s catalytic converter.
These incidents happened over the past year. Years ago, simply one crime of this nature would be out of the ordinary. Now, unfortunately, they are commonplace. When you turn on the morning news, there seem to be daily headlines of such crimes in our state.
This is Connecticut and not the “Wild West.”
In North Haven, a thief stole a pregnant woman’s car in the BJ’s parking lot. The thief and accomplices then went on to commit several additional crimes using her stolen vehicle. Do you think this mother will ever feel safe while pumping gas? I don’t think so.
The simple fact is that public safety is a huge problem in Connecticut that must be addressed now.
The second part of the equation is that it is outrageously expensive to live here. That, too, must be addressed. These two conditions in our state are not entirely mutually exclusive.
Two years following the enactment of the Police Accountability law, we cannot say that there is a safer Connecticut. The headlines speak for themselves; these are facts. The law is not working very well.
After two years, we are in the first stages of fully understanding this law’s consequences. If these clearly detrimental consequences are not addressed, things will continue to get worse.
Local law enforcement continue to do the best they can with these restrictive parameters. As a former law enforcement professional, I know these men and women need the tools to do their job. There must be consequences for an offender after being taken into custody.
A year ago, my Republican colleagues and I offered a comprehensive plan to address crime, along with the underlying causes for why a young person chooses this path. Opportunity for a successful career path was one such underlying cause.
When we came to the table with this proposal, by and large, our plan was quickly dismissed by the majority.
Nonetheless, most colleagues on both sides of the aisle would agree that there is a problem. Unfortunately, when the time comes to cast a vote, the common-sense measures are not the ones that advance.
I encourage everyone to pay attention to lawmakers’ actions in Hartford, and not their words. A “SaferCT” is achievable and I will continue to advocate for policies that put the safety of our families first. Visit SaferCT.com for more information.
State Sen. Paul Cicarella represents Connecticut’s 34th Senate District, which includes the towns of Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford.