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A review of crime statistics for the past five calendar years indicates that in 2016, Newtown had its lowest rate of burglaries and larcenies during that five-year period.
The statistics are based on the state Department of Public Safety’s annual compilation of uniform crime reports, known as Crime in Connecticut for the municipal and the state-sponsored law enforcement agencies that operate in the state.
According to the 435-page report, in 2016, the Newtown Police Department listed 20 burglaries and 58 larcenies, as compared to 35 burglaries and 112 larcenies in 2015. Those statistics reflect the cases handled by Newtown police, but not cases handled by state police, who investigate various crimes at state property, such as Garner Correctional Institution.
In 2014, the number of burglaries reported by town police was much higher, with 65 such incidents listed. During that year, there were 106 larcenies reported.
During 2013, town police investigated 23 burglaries and 99 larcenies. The year 2012 saw the highest number of larcenies reported to town police during the five-year period, with 155 such incidents listed. During that year, 32 burglaries were reported.
The large majority of burglaries occur at residences during the daytime. For example, during 2016, when an overall 20 burglaries were reported to town police, ten burglaries occurred at residences in the daytime, and two such incidents occurred at residences in the nighttime. Among the eight other burglaries that took place in 2016 at nonresidential properties, six incidents occurred in the daytime and two happened at night.
Motor vehicle theft has become a more common crime locally during the past several years, with five cases reported to town police in 2016, seven incidents in 2015, six cases in 2014, four incidents in 2013, and two cases in 2012.
Arson is a relatively rare crime locally, with only one case of such crime being reported in 2016, in 2015, in 2013, and in 2012, each. No arsons were reported in 2014.
The aggregate local dollar loss attributed to a combination of burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts, and arson is listed as $369,000 in 2016. During the five-year period, that figure ranged from a low of $318,000 in 2014, to a high of $377,000 in 2013.
The statistics for the Newtown Police Department indicate no murders occurred from 2012 through 2016. The 27 people who died in the mass shooting incident on December 14, 2012, are listed as murder victims in a section of the report that covers state police crime investigations. State police were the investigators of record in the Sandy Hook school shooting incident.
The statistics indicate that no incidents of rape were reported to town police in 2016. However, there were five cases of such crime reported in 2015, in 2014, and in 2012, each. Three such cases were investigated in 2013.
Town police received one report of a robbery in each of three years — 2016, 2015, and 2014. They received no such reports in 2013 and in 2012.
During 2016, local police investigated three cases of aggravated assault, also known as serious assault. In that category, there were six cases in 2015, five incidents in 2014, no cases in 2013, and two cases in 2012.
Commenting on the relatively low rate of burglaries and larcenies in 2016, police spokesman Lieutenant Aaron Bahamonde said there is no one reason why the incidence of those cases was lower that year.
Likely, a combination of factors came into play, he said. With a change in the police department’s administration occurring in 2016, there was a change in enforcement focus with an emphasis on targeted police enforcement, he said. Also, the police’s use of social media to promote the concept of crime prevention has proven effective, he said.
Members of the public have become more aware and proactive in terms of personal security issues, he said. The use of electronic surveillance equipment at residential properties has helped police solve crimes, he added.
Also, with the use of targeted enforcement patrols, the number of drunken driving arrests that police have made this year has increased compared to last year, he said.