Calls for action getting louder as Juvenile Justice continues to plague CT communities

Crime

BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — In Berlin on Monday night, a forum was held to address the town’s growing concerns about the juvenile crime that continues to plague the town and other towns and cities across the state.

“It’s not political; it’s not Black or white,” said Kris O’Donnell, wife of Farmington Police Officer James O’Donnell. “We need to come together as one and say, this is not enough.”

Kris O’Donnell knows firsthand the toll crime can take. Her husband is still recovering after being struck by a stolen car.

“The person who stole the car, who hit my husband, was 32,” said O’Donnell. “He had a lengthy criminal history that went back all the way back to 18 and most likely had previous arrests.”

That’s why she’s pushing for more to be done on a juvenile level to tighten laws.

“There has to be consequences as a juvenile in order for them not to be in the criminal system as an adult,” said O’Donnell.

At the forum, police officers and local leaders shed light on current laws and proposals aimed at putting a stop to this rise in crime. Those proposals include mandatory fingerprinting and GPS monitoring for some young offenders.

“They [the juveniles] know they can run, they know we’re not allowed to chase them, they know we’re not allowed to pursue them,” one Berlin police detective told the audience.

Members of Safe Streets CT were among those there. They shared with News 8 a challenge to legislators.

“What the Safe Streets challenge is, is for each and every legislator to do a police ride-along in their community on a Friday or a Saturday night for a full shift so they can get an idea of what police officers are dealing with each and every day,” said John Porriello, of Safe Streets CT.

They feel this is a necessary step in this fight as more people fall victim to these crimes.

“The feeling that I was left with was vulnerable and absolutely violated,” said Chelsea Moore, of Glastonbury. “It is, for me, at a level where it’s like I need to start standing up.”

There’s also an ongoing push for there to be a special session focused on crime. Safe Streets CT hopes it will happen soon.

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