The number of burglaries and larcenies that were reported to town police in 2013 dropped significantly compared to 2012, based on a set of crime/motor vehicle enforcement statistics Police Chief Michael Kehoe presented to the Police Commission this week.
In 2013, police received reports of 24 burglaries having occurred locally, compared to 35 such reports in 2012, reflecting a more than 31 percent drop in that crime category. The “clearance rate” for burglaries, or number of cases in which police solved in 2013, was one case. In Connecticut, burglaries are categorized as felonies, which are serious crimes.
Local crime rates fluctuate from year to year. The 24 burglaries that police investigated in 2013 is the lowest number of burglaries in any of the 12 years listed in the statistics, which date back to 2002. During that period, the highest number of burglaries reported to police came in 2002, when 60 cases occurred.
Also in 2013, police received reports of 162 larcenies or thefts, compared to 185 reports in 2012, representing a more than 12 percent drop in that category.
The police clearance rate for larcenies in 2013 was 20 cases.
During the 12-year statistical period, the highest number of reported larcenies was 237 cases in 2003. The lowest number was 158 cases in 2007.
In Connecticut, there are six degrees of larceny. First-degree through third-degree larcenies are felonies, and fourth-degree through sixth-degree larcenies are misdemeanors.
Among other crime categories, police reported no murders in 2013, compared to 27 murders in 2012, all of which happened on 12/14 in Sandy Hook.
Other than the 12/14 shootings, murder has been a relatively rare crime in Newtown, with only two murders having been reported during the ten-year period from 2002 to 2011, with one case in 2005 and the other in 2010. Murders which predate the statistical reporting period include one murder in 1999 and two murders in 1993.
Among other major crime categories, police in 2013 received two reports of rape, no robbery reports, six reports of aggravated assault, four cases of motor vehicle theft, and one report of arson.
The crime statistics are assembled locally for submission to the FBI, which tracks such information on a national scale.
The statistics include information on town police’s motor vehicle enforcement activity during 2013, as compared to the preceding 14 years, dating back to 1999.
The statistics only cover local roads. State police patrol Interstate 84, where they handle vehicular enforcement, which is not included in the town police’s statistical report.
In 2013, town police made 62 arrests on charges of driving under the influence, reflecting an almost 15 percent increase in such enforcement compared 2012, when 54 such charges were lodged.
During the past 15 years, the number of DUI charges pressed by town police has varied from year to year, with a high number of 102 cases coming in 2006, and a low number of 54 cases filed in 2012.
In 2013, town police issued 1,381 motor vehicle summonses, down markedly from 2012, when 2,977 summonses were issued, reflecting an almost 54 percent drop in such activity. The reduction in such motor vehicle enforcement is attributed in part to 12/14’s lingering effects on the police department’s enforcement activity.
During the period dating back to 1999, police issued the highest number of summonses, or 3,263 summonses, in 2008.
During 2013, police issued 2,953 written warnings to motorists for various violations, compared to 5,452 written warnings which were issued in 2012, representing a 46 percent drop in that category. During the 15-year-period, police issued the highest number of written warnings in 2011, at 6,023 warnings. Verbal warnings are not listed in the statistics.
During the past several years, police have conducted a heightened traffic enforcement campaign in response to public calls for such action.
Also during 2013, police received 1,374 alarms, reflecting a steady decrease in the number of alarms that they received since 2007. Of those 1,374 alarms, only two alarms reflected actual emergency situations.
By comparison in 2007, police received 1,883 alarms, of which five alarms represented actual emergencies.
At the March 4 Police Commission session at which Chief Kehoe presented the statistics, commission members asked that the chief provide them with information on the collection of fines levied against alarm owners whose devices sound false alarms. The town has an ordinance concerning false alarms and fines for false alarms.
Of the overall statistics for crime/motor vehicle statistics for 2013, Chief Kehoe said on March 5, “The calendar year 2013 proved to be a challenging year for the community and the police department.”
“Ever-changing responsibilities and duties required a shifting of our public safety focus for some of the year. The statistics fluctuated due to those factors,” he said.
The town police department’s statistics do not include the various criminal and motor vehicle violations issued by state police in Newtown. State police patrols include Interstate 84, Garner Correctional Institution, and state-owned sections of Fairfield Hills.