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Rocky Hill leaders circulate petition calling for special session on car break-ins and thefts

"This used to be the type of crime that used to happen in the middle of the night, now it's happening in the middle of the day," a resident told FOX61.

Town leaders have begun circulating a petition calling on state lawmakers to address an uptick in car break-ins and car thefts in a special session.

Mayor Lisa Marotta said people in town are doing everything they can to protect themselves, but want state lawmakers to step in.

Many Rocky Hill residents have been victims of break-ins and thefts themselves.

RELATED: Woman carjacked in parking lot of Rocky Hill bakery

"My home has been invaded twice," Gabe Cabrera told FOX61. "Both times we were home. We were home and that didn't deter them."

He's among those who have already signed the petition.

"Right now, what we're hearing the most is that taxpayers feel that the legislation isn't listening to them," Mayor Marotta said. "They feel that, okay
you can go into special session perhaps for different things, why can't you address this?"

In Rocky Hill, concerns grew after a woman was pulled from her car in broad daylight along a busy road last month. Her car was then stolen by the suspects.

Marotta is calling for changes to be made to the law to specifically address repeat offenders.

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"There doesn't seem to be a system in place that really has the resources to reduce those recidivism rates," the mayor said.

Ken Barone, project manager for the Institute of Regional and Municipal Policy at Central Connecticut State University, looks at crime data for the state.

He told FOX61 that the entire country saw an uptick in these crimes around the time the pandemic started, and those numbers have stuck around so far this year.

"In the departmental data that we have seen auto thefts have remained the same or decreased slightly and so I anticipate that the 2021 numbers will be likely on par with 2020 numbers, maybe a little bit lower than they were in 2020," Barone said.

Hartford city councilman Josh Michtom said when lawmakers do look for solutions, it's important they consider long-term solutions.

"If we want to solve it, what we know is that locking kids up makes it worse," Michtom said. "Pour money into community-based services, kids having stuff to do, kids having access to the internet which might sound silly but the more that kids have access to the internet they can do better at school, they can do more activities."

Many of those who have been affected by the crime firsthand want to see action taken soon.

RELATED: Safe Streets CT pushes for legislature to take action on juvenile crime

"This used to be the type of crime that used to happen in the middle of the night, now it's happening in the middle of the day," Cabrera said. "Now it's escalated from middle of the day car theft to middle of the day kidnapping, so what's next? Middle of the day murder?" 

Lawmakers are expected to meet for a special session at the end of this month to discuss extending the governor's emergency powers, it's not clear if they will discuss other issues.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at gmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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