Young advocates seek to change tale of auto theft – NBC Connecticut

New data shows that car thefts among young people are trending down this year. Lawyers gathered in the state capital to call attention to the new numbers, which they say are proof that Connecticut’s laws are working.

“We need to shed light on these issues but not spoil the light with untruths, lies and innuendos,” said Representative Toni Walker, D-New Haven.

Walker said she didn’t think the laws needed to be changed.

Car thefts among young people fell 19% this year compared to the first six months of last year, according to statistics from the judicial branch. They went from 421 in 2020 to 341 in 2021.

“It’s not a partisan issue. I want to stick to the problem of our children, ”Walker said.

Biparty talks on how to deal with car theft among young people collapsed this week.

Governor Ned Lamont said he plans to take action soon.

“We pay special attention. One of the changes I ordered that will take effect next week is to make sure the judges know the difference between the primary offender who just does something stupid and can provide the appropriate response to that and what chronic repeat offender, ”said Lamont. noted.

“It turns out that many police departments in our state don’t understand or even don’t know that when they have a child they really think it is a public emergency, it is actually possible. that they can order a judge to take this child into custody, “said Michael Lawlor, associate professor of criminal justice at New Haven University.

Youth advocates say they have a free solution.

“People leave their cars unlocked with the key fobs in the car,” Lawlor said. “It’s not to blame the victim. It’s just good advice.

Republicans don’t believe this is a solution.

“Blaming the victim is really wrong here for me,” said Representative Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford.

“Not locking a car doesn’t give permission to walk on my property, check if my car’s door is open, all that,” he added.

Advocates say they want the state to invest in young people instead of punishing them.

“We need to find real solutions that minimize recidivism. We need to dig deeper. Why do these children commit crimes? What are we missing? ”Illiana Pujols, Connecticut Justice Alliance policy director, said.

She says it goes back generations.

“Families face generations of poverty, economic instability, all the same things that children face. It’s just the repeated cycle, ”she said. “The same fundamental problems that we have to solve for children, we have to solve them for families. “

About Mark A. Tomlin

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