NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The North Branford Town Council called on state leaders to take action following an uptick in carjackings and car thefts in town and across Connecticut.
This comes after police said a homeowner was shot at when he interrupted a suspect trying to steal his vehicle in the Northford section of town. He was not hit or injured. The suspect then ran off into a black, four-door Dodge Charger, pictured below, with three other people in it, according to police.
“That’s terrifying to me,” North Branford resident Heidi Hughart said. “Right, that we’re seeing this in our local little tiny community.”
Town Manager Michael Downes told News 8 there has been an uptick in these crimes.
“We’re seeing car break ins about four of them a week,” Downes said, adding the suspects have gotten more brazen. “Now, what you’re seeing is broaddaylight attempts and now they’re actually breaking into cars.”
In a bipartisan unanimous vote Tuesday night, the town council approved a resolution calling on Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) and the Connecticut General Assembly to take action, noting the increase “across the entire state of serious crimes, including motor vehicle theft, carjackings, robbery, and home invasion among others.”
The resolution urges state lawmakers to pass several criminal justice measures, including mandatory minimum sentences for robbery involving an unoccupied motor vehicle with a firearm or deadly weapon and increased penalties for committing a crime using a stolen motor vehicle or firearm.
“I think if they had some stricter laws, maybe we would see a change,” Hughart said.
“At the gas stations, they’ll pull up alongside the car at the gas station and jump in and take off,” Rick Malavasi of Guilford said. “It’s happened quite a few times in Guilford also.”
Downes hopes other communities will join in this call for change.
“Collectively, municipal leaders need to raise their voices and let it be known that they want some action taken,” he said.
The resolution was sent to the state legislative delegation and Lamont, whose spokesperson said he had supported efforts to reduce crime like “strengthening our juvenile justice laws in 2022 and passing landmark gun safety legislation in 2023. The conversation as to how to make Connecticut even safer should continue every year, and the governor looks forward to engaging in the coming legislative session on how to make that happen.”