Over the past year there sometimes appeared to be periodic burglary sprees in different neighborhoods around town, with break-ins into homes and cars surging at an alarming rate.
Bank robberies appeared to occur almost weekly.
But impressions can be deceiving, police say. Overall 2013 statistics in Fairfield show that both the numbers of crimes and calls to the Police Department were lower than in 2012.
Last year, for instance, there were 40,928 calls for police service compared to 42,116 the previous year.
Burglaries reported at homes, businesses and garages were all down from 2012. Then there were 204 burglaries, while in 2013 that number was 167, a decline of 18 percent.
While there were a lot of thefts from motor vehicles -- 330 -- they still were fewer than 2012's figure of 350. Police Chief Gary MacNamara said a vehicle break-in is rarely an isolated event.
"If there's one occurrence, there's usually multiple entries occurring on the same night, in the same location," he said.
Though thefts from motor vehicles decreased by 5 percent, MacNamara said the 330 incidents are still too many.
"We're still looking at ways to reduce that, through active patrols and neighborhood engagement," he said.
"Pretty much everything was reduced," Sgt. Suzanne Lussier, the department spokesman, said of the crime totals in 2013.
An exception, Lussier said, was an increase in robberies, which rose from 11 in 2012 to 16 in 2013, a 33 percent increase. Some of those incidents were holdups at convenience stores, but the town also recorded its fair share of bank robberies -- including two on the same day, within a half-hour and half-mile of each other. Those two robberies are thought to have been committed by the same suspect, who is also linked to similar bank robberies in other towns.
Robberies "get a lot more attention" from the public, Lussier said, as do residential burglaries that take place while the residents are home.
"We've had more bank robberies than ever, and an occupied home break-in makes it a lot more concerning," she said.
MacNamara agreed. "Similar to other areas in the state, there seemed, in a short period of time, several higher profile incidents in rapid succession of each other, that leads to concerns about what appears to be an increase in the crime rate." Read Full Article
Good work and communication between police detectives here and in other towns help to solve property crimes, the chief said.
"I think the detectives have a much better communications network with other departments and they're able to obtain information to develop suspects more readily, especially the burglaries and robberies," he said.
MacNamara said the department's detectives charted a rate of almost 25 percent in solving burglaries, compared to a national rate of 12.7 percent.
"Obviously, we take a lot of steps to reduce the number of burglaries," the chief said, and when they do happen, the detectives work hard to identify and arrest the suspects. "Most burglars will continue to commit burglaries until they're caught."
Residents can do their part to thwart people with a criminal intent.
"You can't leave valuables visible in your car or your home," Lussier said.
For instance, she said, people heading to a gym to work out, "should not take anything more with you then you need to effect your business. ... You have to be more vigilant."
Violent crime in Fairfield also decreased, with assaults dropping from 101 in 2013 to 71 in 2013, and sex violations fell from 15 in 2012 to 13 in 2013.
Parking violations increased from 890 in 2012 to 1,026 in 2013, a jump Lussier said may be attributed to a new ticketing system.
Shoplifting incidents notched a small increase, from 211 to 229, while the number of cars stolen dropped from 60 to 33.
There were more motor vehicle accidents with injuries -- 203 -- last year, compared to 171 in 2012. There was also more warnings issued for motor vehicle violations, 2,642 in 2013 versus 2,300 in 2012, although the overall number of traffic stops by officers dropped from 9,107 in 2012 to 8,170 in 2013.
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Incidents reported to the Fairfield
Police Department during calendar
years 2012 and 2013.
2012 2013 Diff.
Assault 101 71 -30%
Sex violations 18 13 -13%
Burglary 204 167 -18%
Shoplifting 209 229 +10%
Stolen vehicles 60 33 -45%
Theft from vehicle 349 330 -5%
Pistol permits* 216 339 +57%
*Applications filed for pistol permits
SOURCE: Fairfield Police Department