Fairfield-area officials talk ways to address 'consequence-free environment' for young offenders

FAIRFIELD — A panel of law enforcement officials spent nearly two hours at a public forum Monday saying they don’t have enough tools to address youth crime, specifically motor vehicle thefts.

But given the opportunity, they could not point to any evidence that a number of legislative changes they suggested would work.

In fact, solving the issue of auto thefts wouldn’t require a special session of the legislature proposed by Republican lawmakers — despite auto theft rates at near historical lows.

“When people ask me ‘How do you stop it?’ now, I say ‘Lock your car and don’t leave your key fob in it, they won’t how to steal it,’” said Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney John Capozzi, prosecutor for juvenile matters in Bridgeport, Danbury and Norwalk. “And if you have a manual transmission, you could leave it running and they won’t take it because they don’t know how to drive it.”

The forum, hosted by State Rep. Laura Devlin, R-Fairfield, took place at the Sacred Heart Community Theatre.

The venue has 400 seats. Eighteen of them were filled at the beginning of the event, which didn’t bode well for the public buy-in the town’s top cop said is necessary to address the problem.

“There needs to be involvement from everyone,” Fairfield Police Chief Robert Kalamaras said. “There needs to be an education component where the community is locking their cars every night.”

“If our community as a whole is locking their cars and making our environment safe, then they’re going to move on to different communities to look to commit those crimes,” Kalamaras said. “Ultimately my responsibility is Fairfield. If they move to Westport, I’m actually good with that.”

The next speaker on the panel, Detective George Buckmir, showed surveillance footage depicting a February crash that killed a juvenile from Bridgeport minutes after the youth had stolen a vehicle from a Westport gas station.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *