Catalytic converter thefts spike in Shelton, remaining crime stable compared to 2021, police say

Shelton Police Department, file photo

Shelton Police Department, file photo

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — Thefts of motor vehicle parts, specifically catalytic converters, continue to spike this year and remain a major focus of local law enforcement, according to data on the police department website

It's a portion of the department's overall 704 total reports it has filed for 2022 through, compared to the 1,091 total reports filed during all of 2021. The total number of incidents cleared by arrest stands at 139 through eight months of data. 

“Besides the thefts of the catalytic converters, which is not just a Shelton problem, it’s a nationwide problem, nothing from what we have seen stands out from previous years,” said Lt. Robert Kozlowsky. 

Kozlowsky said catalytic converter thefts remain a concern, and officers continue to meet with businesses with large fleets of vehicles parked outside to offer tips on protecting their vehicles. 

Police report 90 incidents of thefts of motor vehicle parts through August, that is exactly double the number of reports from all of 2021. There have been double-digit reports of such thefts for six of the last eight months. 

The department stepped up patrols in those areas hardest hit, Kozlowsky said, and communicated with the public about how to best safeguard against thefts. 

“Crime stats continually fluctuate, and it is our job to regularly review the data and take any necessary steps to handle concerns,” Kozlowsky said. There will be ups and downs in the numbers, but for the most part so far this year, the numbers have remained stable. That’s the reason why we continue to be ranked among the safest cities in the state.”

Shelton earlier this year was once again recognized as one of the state’s safest cities, placing ninth overall in the latest analysis by Safewise, a home security analysis company. 

Safewise reviewed 2021 FBI crime report statistics — the department's most recent complete report available at the time of ranking — and population data in making its final determinations. 

Of the 704 reported incidents for 2022 so far, statistics show 44 reports of motor vehicle theft (compared to 64 for all of 2021), 42 simple assaults, 89 disorderly conduct incidents, 33 burglaries, 36 reports of vandalism, 17 thefts from buildings, and 11 reports of sexual assault.

Last year has an overall drop in crime, according to the department's 2021 data though there were increases in some areas.

Increases include thefts from motor vehicles — 89 in 2021 versus 87 in 2020; disorderly conduct — 112 in 2021, compared with 106 in 2020; aggravated assault — six in 2021 against two in 2020; credit card fraud — 35 in 2021 versus 24 in 2020; identity theft — 16 in 2021 compared to 10 last year; and vandalism — 72 in 2021, 64 in 2020. 

Police investigated one murder in 2021, as well as three reports of rape, up one from the previous year. 

Robberies remained constant, with nine in 2021 and 2020. Simple assault dropped — 57 in 2021 to 60 in 2020 — and drug crimes dipped from 28 in 2021 to 41 in 2020. 

Drops in reported incidents were also seen in burglaries — from 73 to 59; motor vehicle theft — 74 to 64; driving under the influence — 29 to 13; and shoplifting — 58 to 52. 

The crime statistics are available on the police department’s website