North Stonington - About 40 residents gathered for a town meeting Tuesday night at Wheeler High School to discuss the recent rash of crimes in town as well as a speeding issue in the Village neighborhood.
Three officers from Troop E were there to address resident concerns. Lt. Samuel Izzarelli, the barracks commander for Troop E in Montville, said the local burglary trend has shifted from criminals hauling large televisions to snitching obviously placed jewelry and other easily pocketed items.
"To that extent, burglaries have become quite challenging for us," he said.
Izzarelli advised that residents make it more difficult for burglars by obscuring valuable items in less obvious places.
"Don't leave the low-hanging fruit for them to grab," he said.
Residents also said they felt like they are not kept apprised of ongoing emergency situations and pointed out that the reverse 911 service does not follow up if a suspect is apprehended or an emergency has subsided.
But several steered the discussion toward the speeding issue. Paul Kowack of Main Street said residents are simply looking for a solution and not looking to place blame.
"My answer to the problem was not speed bumps necessarily - signage, maybe, but certainly presence," he said. "When the bridge is available for traffic, have a plan. That's all I ask. That's all I think we're asking."
Izzarelli said an increase in staff would benefit the troop as much as the town. But with Troop E spread out over a large enforcement area, providing a police presence everywhere and every time it is needed is simply not feasible, he said.
First Selectman Nicholas Mullane read aloud a letter he has drafted to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy requesting more state troopers be hired to account for the attention he said North Stonington needs.
Mullane said in the search for crime and speeding solutions, the Board of Selectmen will continue the dialogue over the next few meetings and will field any suggestions, including a neighborhood crime watch and installing speed humps as a stopgap for limited police presence.