Juvenile crime, crime scene tape image
Credit: Fer Gregory / Shutterstock

Connecticut’s annual crime statistics for 2022, just released, highlight a decline in both violent and property crimes in the state.

The report reveals a 4% decrease in overall crime, accompanied by a 13% reduction in violent crime, including homicides and robberies. Property crimes also saw a 3% decline. These figures are not anomalies but part of a decade-long trend, with a 26% drop in overall crime, a 41% reduction in violent crime, and a 23% decline in property crime over the past 10 years.

“This report demonstrates that Connecticut continues to be one of the safest states in the country, with violent and property crimes down from the previous year and below or trending toward pre-pandemic levels,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said the property numbers are a bit more complex than the data would have a person believe. Motor vehicle thefts in 2022 accounted for about 8.1% of property crimes or 7,209 instances.

The report found 10.7% of property crime arrestees were juveniles. Auto thefts by minors were up during the first half of 2023.

Candelora said car thieves are getting more bold and turning dangerous. He said residents with high-value vehicles are being followed home and assaulted trying to stop thieves from taking their vehicles.

The report found close to $19 million in estimated property loss in vehicles. Thirty-six percent of that property loss was in vehicles parked at homes.

Candelora said generally the property crimes are being done by repeat offenders.

“We don’t punish crime anymore,” Candelora said.

Lamont said over the past five years, Connecticut has significantly boosted its law enforcement ranks, with 376 new state troopers joining the force.

However, Candelora said the number of troopers is still down around 800 and officers who have more of a personal stake are deciding it’s too dangerous to pursue some offenders.

Lamont, Democratic lawmakers, and a handful of Republicans also championed legislation aimed at curbing gun violence. Among the provisions is a new ban on openly carrying a gun with the intent to display it in public, an extension of existing safe storage requirements to all Connecticut gun owners, and a three gun cap on handgun purchases for most consumers.

Other new provisions will make it easier for state courts to revoke bail and probation from repeat gun offenders accused of committing another crime.

The Department of Public Health has been allocated funding to support community violence intervention programs. Project Longevity, a gun-violence reduction program, is also receiving substantial backing.

The state budget for FY 2024 and 2025 includes provisions for crime victims, system-involved youth, court-system operations, and public safety. From filling the funding gap for the Victims of Crime Act assistance to enhancing GPS monitoring for high-risk populations and domestic violence charges, these investments are described as comprehensive.

Youth and prevention services are also receiving attention, with millions allocated for juvenile review boards, youth violence intervention programming, and prevention programs for at-risk youth.

However, Christina Quaranta, the executive director of The Connecticut Justice Alliance, said Connecticut is not a safe state for Black and Brown youth.

“In a state that arrests 10-year-olds, the violent crime we should be concerned about is perpetrated by the state. Republicans politicize crime statistics to advocate for incarcerating more of our youth, which just feeds the problem. We must prioritize investment in community, legal system reform, and provide meaningful support to individuals impacted by the legal system,” Quaranta said.

While the declining crime rates are encouraging, Lamont emphasized the ongoing commitment to enhancing public safety.

“Any instance of crime in our state is unacceptable, and we will continue to improve our public safety record by prioritizing smart on crime policies, gun safety, and support for our most vulnerable residents,” he said.