New Haven

New technology to crack down on crime on Hamden trail

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH)-- Hamden is touting some new technology designed to crack down on crime. New security cameras and emergency telephones are going up along a popular walking and biking trail.

Folks using the Farmington Canal Trail in Hamden are now seeing a lot more security measures. Emergency phones that let you call police, and cameras are there so police can keep an eye on what is going on. Those cameras are now at several busy spots, and Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra says there are three reasons for them.

"Ensure that people feel safe when they're using the trail and when they're navigating their way through this area. We also want to deter crime," Wydra said. "We want to make available to our police officers visual evidence."

As in evidence that could help catch anybody committing crimes. There have been some concerns over the years. You may remember about 6 years ago, a homeless man was found beaten to death along the trail, allegedly by another homeless man with whom he shared a tent. A much different crime about a year and a half ago, as a 70-year-old woman walking the trail told police a man came up and exposed himself to her. There have also been several shootings in the southern part of Hamden.

"They were at night. Nobody was on the trail in terms of running or jogging, but it did cause some folks in this neighborhood to become concerned about what's going on in the neighborhood," Wydra said.

The Skiff Street tunnel is the most heavily monitored spot on the trail in Hamden. It has multiple cameras and multiple phones inside. Hamden resident Jeniene Ferguson would love to see some cameras when she's out walking her dog Lucy on the trail.

"If we could have some more security or maybe a little bit more police presence," Ferguson said.

She lives north of the problem area, but still follows some important rules when she's out jogging.

"You just have to be aware of your surroundings," Ferguson explained. "I don't run with headphones, I try not to run alone. I run with a friend or with a group."

There are also new cameras in various places around town. They are going to put six new cameras in at various intersections. Remember, under Connecticut law, you cannot get a traffic ticket based on a camera, but the cameras will help keep an eye on nearby businesses and public spaces.

The Mayor says the town is also increasing community policing efforts like walking beats and expanding block watches.

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