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'This is a crime game' | Advocacy group, state lawmakers call for special session on rise of juvenile crime

As lawmakers gathered to vote on extending the governor's pandemic emergency powers, Safe Streets CT says another emergency needs to be addressed.

HARTFORD, Conn. — As lawmakers gathered to vote on extending the governor's pandemic emergency powers on Monday, an advocacy group met to call on the legislature to take up what they said is another emergency: the increase in violent crime across the state, specifically juvenile crime.

“This is a crime game for juveniles. They know they can hit new levels of success without being punished," said John Porriello with Safe Streets CT. "There are no stops, and the stops have been removed by the legislature and therefore penalties and stops and intervention for these young criminals."

According to its website, Safe Streets CT is a non-partisan, multi-town action-based coalition, designed to address the recent increase in crime across the state.

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

The group held a press conference Monday morning in front of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to demand lawmakers take up a special session on juvenile crime.

That call was also echoed by Tim Callahan of South Glastonbury. His car was hit in Glastonbury in June by a stolen BMW. Five people, including two juveniles and three young adults, were arrested after attempted car break-ins in the area.

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“I was run off the road. I was almost killed or maimed by this high-speed BMW," said Callahan. "I want accountability. I want the government to do the right thing on this or legislators. My car suffered over $7,000 worth of damage.”

A group of bipartisan state lawmakers also voiced their support for a special session.

“We at the state legislature want to do more in terms of adjusting the laws and closing some of the loopholes that are allowing repeat offenders to continue," said Democratic Rep. Kerry Wood, representing District 29.

“I worked in law enforcement for almost 30 years before I got elected. I’ve also been a victim of car thefts so it has a lot of meaning to me. I know we can do something about it if we just get some cooperation," said Republican Rep. Pat Callahan, representing District 108.

RELATED: Connecticut lawmakers and advocates call for solutions for juvenile crime

The group is encouraging people to sign an online petition calling for a special session on juvenile crime.

Angelo Bavaro is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at abavaro@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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