“We don't want people getting hurt or taking matters into their own hands."
That was Officer Christopher LaPorte, who was recently named as the Southington Police Department’s liaison to the neighborhood watch groups that have been formed in response to the rash of thefts and burglaries in recent months.
LaPorte’s words of caution should be noted: Safety first, after all.
“You don't know what kind of person that is in your driveway. You don't know if they have weapons,” LaPorte said. "We don't want you going outside confronting people.”
But there’s no getting around the fact that such crimes have been proliferating for months in many towns. Southington police are providing guidance and training to the watch efforts.
There are Facebook groups for the watches, which are said to have nearly 4,000 members and cover every street in town. Residents often post surveillance videos of the crimes. Typically, a car stops in front of a house at night, someone gets out and tries the doors of any car in the driveway. If it’s unlocked, they look for valuables and then make a quick exit.
An alert citizenry may be the best tool against proliferating crimes such as these, because the police can’t be everywhere at once.
“There's more eyes and ears out there watching,” said LaPorte.
Police encourage people to call in tips about suspicious vehicles, including cars driving without headlights, or stopping frequently at houses and getting in and out with the car running.
We endorse the neighborhood watch movement and also the Southington Police Department’s decision to work with residents to combat this crime wave. Residents of other towns may choose to follow suit, but this is no call for people to put themselves at risk.
Just help the police do their job.