Despite Overall Crime Rate Drop in Connecticut, Some Lawmakers Calling for Stricter Laws | CT

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UPDATE: Despite Overall Crime Rate Drop in Connecticut, Some Lawmakers Calling for Stricter Laws

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connecticut criminal defense lawyer

Originally published: November 8, 2021

Updated: August 4, 2022 

Update: Last year, our firm explained several proposed changes that Connecticut lawmakers were proposing in an effort to combat rising car theft rates in the state, particularly among juvenile offenders. Last month, the governor signed into law the final bill approved by the Connecticut General Assembly, Public Act 22-115.

Provisions included in the final version include the following:

  • All juveniles who are arrested but are not being detained must have a hearing before the court within five business days.

  • A juvenile can be held for up to eight hours (increased from the current six) if law enforcement is attempting to contact a parent or guardian or is waiting for a court ruling for a detention order.

  • Allows law enforcement investigating a juvenile access to statewide electronic records to check for any pending charges and any record of arrests in the prior three months.

  • The court can now formally order an assessment for services for the juvenile.

  • The court can now order GPS monitoring of a juvenile charged with a motor vehicle offense if that juvenile has two or more offenses.

  • The juvenile probation docket will now include firearm and homicide crimes.

The Act also includes millions of dollars dedicated to assisting law enforcement in combatting motor vehicle and firearm crimes, upgrades to forensic technology, community strategies for reducing gun violence, and juvenile diversion programs and services.

Contact a Stamford Defense Lawyer

If your teen has been charged with motor vehicle theft, or any other crime, call Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Fairfield County juvenile crimes defense attorney.

According to data compiled by the FBI for its uniform crime report released every year, there has been a significant drop in the overall crime rate in the state of Connecticut over the past ten years. The rate of violent crimes has dropped almost 40 percent in the last decade, giving the state the fourth lowest ranking in the country. The rate for property crimes has fallen by almost 30 percent, putting Connecticut in the bottom 15 states.

The rates that have not dropped, however, are for homicides and car thefts. In fact, those rates have risen dramatically, leading some lawmakers to propose stricter criminal justice laws, especially aimed at juveniles.

Rising Car Theft and Homicide Rates

One of the main reasons cited for the increase in car thefts is that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were staying at home – and not always locking their vehicles up. This meant there were many more vehicles vulnerable to theft.

Criminal justice experts have not been able to determine the increase in homicides, although the National Council on Criminal Justice has cited the economic and social pressures put on people during the pandemic as possible factors. In Hartford, the rate has more than doubled from the previous year, coming in at 61 percent. New Haven has had an almost 40 percent spike, and Waterbury reports a 30 percent increase.

A Safer Connecticut

These alarming increases have led some Connecticut lawmakers to propose changes in the state’s juvenile justice laws and have submitted a package of proposals called “A Safer Connecticut.” They say the goal of the proposals is to eradicate recidivism in juvenile crime while increasing social services spending (although there is no definitive amount set in the package). However, the proposals also include the elimination of some parts of the law enforcement transparency rules. Critics say this will make it easier for officers who have been decertified at one department for disciplinary actions to just move to another department.

Other changes in the A Safer Connecticut proposal package include:

  • Speedy next-day arraignments for juveniles charged with a crime

  • Utilizing the current rules that allow juveniles charged with certain crimes to be transferred to the jurisdiction of the adult courts

  • Mandatory 24-hour GPS monitoring for juveniles arrested for violent crimes while awaiting trial for prior charges

  • Workforce development programs that would provide a way for juveniles to earn occupational licenses and other job avenues

Contact a Fairfield County Defense Attorney

If you or your loved one has been arrested and charged with a crime, you need a skilled Stamford, CT criminal law attorney who will aggressively defend you and advocate for your rights. Call Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with Attorney Daniel P. Weiner and find out how our firm can help.