Hamden holds public meeting to tackle crime in malls

HAMDEN, Conn. (WFSB) – Hamden town leaders say they have a comprehensive plan to tackle crime in shopping centres.

The issue has been in the spotlight lately after a woman in her 60s was attacked outside a grocery store, police say.

The incident angered many seniors.

On Wednesday, Mayor Lauren Garrett and Police Chief John Sullivan said they would discuss the changes with residents.

The plan is to add more police, more security cameras and more lighting.

Garrett and Sullivan said they would break down all the changes at a public meeting at the Miller Memorial Library.

Hamden Police said the town was facing an increase in stolen cars, robberies and carjackings in local business areas. The issue really came to the fore last week when police said three men brutally attacked the 74-year-old woman outside the ShopRite on Dixwell Avenue. The victim survived, but police say she suffered two broken pelvises. The fugitive suspects on Wednesday morning threw her to the ground and stole her car.

Last month, an 83-year-old woman was knocked to the ground when a man tried to steal her handbag.

In November, a 61-year-old woman had her purse stolen.

The incidents are in addition to a number of vehicles with smashed windows and stolen items. Police say the vehicles were parked in parking lots at the mall

Hamden Police said they responded by taking several steps to increase security, including adding officers to patrol high-visibility areas such as shopping malls. They also said they were increasing security cameras and lighting in commercial areas, and that police were meeting with local neighborhood watch groups more frequently.

Garrett said this issue is one of the city’s top priorities.

“We’re hiring more police,” she said. “I have asked all police who make reports to do so in car parks so they are visible. We are doing what we can to keep Hamden safe.

A public forum was organized by the city’s senior center.

A co-worker of the victim read a statement she wrote from her hospital bed.

Detective Sean Dolan and the police department detailed what the city is doing in response to the increase in incidents. “A big part of it is seeing that, seeing the uniforms, seeing the uniforms, seeing the officers walking around, seeing the bike unit through the mall parking lots, I think that’s the appeal principal across the community you want to see an increased presence.

They also gave some safety tips:

  • be alert and aware of your surroundings
  • park near the store and in well-lit places
  • your wallet at home, just put ID, cash or credit card in pocket

“Nobody wants to get rid of their wallets, but this is the most important thing we can do, zip everything up in a coat, put in a pocket, and stop carrying around those suspenders,” Dolan said.

Elders say they won’t let that deter them from living their lives.

“I feel comfortable, you have to walk confident. You have to be mindful of your surroundings, we can’t live in fear,” said Judy Feather.

The city will hold another forum next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the city’s legislative chamber.

The plan is to add more police, more security cameras and more lighting.

Hamden leaders said they had a plan to tackle crime.