Shelton residents being asked to help prevent crime

Shelton police officials plan to hold a neighborhood meeting soon in the Long Hill Avenue area after an uptick in crime during the late summer in that part of the city.

The goal is to begin a Neighborhood Watch program to help neighborhood residents play an active role in preventing criminal activity by taking certain steps.

“When we solve crimes,” Police Chief Joel Hurliman said, “we do that based on information — and usually that comes from residents and business owners.”

Stealing items from unlocked cars

Most of the problems in the neighborhood have involved thieves stealing items of value — such as electronic devices — from parked vehicles left unlocked at night. From GPS units to cash have been taken from the cars.

“They will take the path of least resistance,” Hurliman said of criminals targeting unlocked vehicles.

There also have been some burglaries in recent months, he said, although most of these have involved commercial businesses and been elsewhere in the city.

One criminal act involved the theft of a car belonging to Mayor Mark Lauretti from his property on David Drive, which is off Long Hill Avenue.

The 2001 Mercedes Benz, which Lauretti owns personally, was taken at night on July 25 and only recently recovered in New Haven.

Protection steps can be taken

At the neighborhood meeting, Hurliman said residents will be told about various steps they can take to protect their belongings.

This includes locking cars at night when parked in their driveway or on the road, not leaving valuable items inside parked vehicles, and making sure tools and lawn equipment are not left outside.

“Don’t leave a ladder up against the house, don’t leave the shed open, and don’t leave tools such as leaf blowers and weed-whackers in the yard,” Hurliman said. “Don’t leave valuables clearly visible anywhere.”

People also should keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, and report any such behavior to the police on a timely basis.

Residents have role in crime prevention

Hurliman said Neighborhood Watches exist in many Shelton neighborhoods, acting as deterrents to crime.

Lauretti said it’s a good idea to get residents more involved “whenever a neighborhood gets targeted for theft and vandalism. The police can’t be everywhere. It’s a partnership.”

The upcoming meeting is likely to take place at Long Hill School, although that location is not certain.

Long Hill Avenue connects downtown and the Pine Rock neighborhood in southeastern Shelton, intersecting with Route 110 close to the Stratford border.