Where do car thefts occur in Connecticut? The I-Team draws your city/town
(WFSB) – Car thefts continue to pile up in Connecticut.
Have you ever wondered where your car is most likely to be stolen? What about when?
The I-Team asked dozens of police departments across the state for their data and spent weeks analyzing it for this report.
We asked each section about the dates, times and locations of the cars being stolen and where they were found.
We have obtained responses from 23 of those departments (so far).
Below are the maps and analysis for each city/town department that responded: (It should be noted that each department maintains data differently and therefore some questions will not be answered for all departments.)
When Megan Johnson of New Haven realized her car was missing on the morning of Oct. 14, she immediately felt frustrated and stressed. According to a neighbor’s Ring camera video, a car stopped around 6:58 a.m., broke the rear passenger window, and drove away less than 3 minutes later.
Johnson says police told her the car might arrive in the next few days. It didn’t even take one. About 12 hours later, Johnson found out herself, driving through her neighborhood.
In the city of New Haven, from the beginning of the year until October 27, there were 600 car thefts. The majority have been recovered. 33 are still missing.
Johnson had a 2016 Hyundai Sonata, and the Sonata and Elantra are the most frequently stolen cars in New Haven, according to data.
Monday was the day most people reported their car stolen, followed by Wednesday.
Using New Haven Police data, we created a map tracking where thefts occur in the Elm City.
For example, we found that 20% of all thefts occurred within the Dwight and Edgewood neighborhoods.
To find out where thefts occur in New Haven:
In Hartford, there have been more than 950 thefts so far in 2023, compared to 450 at this time last year.
The majority (29%) reported in ZIP code 06106: the Barry Square/Frog Hollow neighborhood, and in 06114 (19%), which includes the area around Brainard Airport.
The Hartford Auto Theft Task Force, as of Oct. 20, has made 155 arrests this year. 50% of detainees were juveniles, 17 years old or younger.
23% of them are between 18 and 24 years old.
In 17% of stolen car thefts, the keys were inside the car, and 23% of cars were stolen using a USB cable. Most Hyundai and Kia vehicles built between 2011 and 2022 lack industry-standard anti-theft technology, allowing thieves to easily bypass ignition switches and hot-wire cars.
Nearly 40% of cars stolen this year are made by Hyundai and Kia, according to Hartford police.
Hartford residents with a Hyundai or Kia, along with their vehicle registration and proof of residency, can get a free club at the police department. Anti-theft devices lock the steering wheel and make the vehicle undriveable
45% of highway/road/alley/street/sidewalk reported stolen. 30% of the parking lot/drop off/garage was reported stolen. 15% of the house or residence.
**Note: We were unable to convert the data provided to us by Hartford Police into a clickable map.
“I think the public is very disappointed.” With 709 car thefts so far this year, Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnuolo says they’ve already seen 100 more thefts than they did in all of 2022. They have seen an increase in cars stolen from out of town and ending up in Waterbury. Chief Spagnolo says part of the problem in Waterbury is the social media trend of Hyundai and Kia. Over the past year, hundreds of videos have emerged showing the vulnerabilities of some Hyundai/Kia models and how easy they can be stolen.
The other problem, the president says, is opportunity. Using Waterbury police data, we found that at least 25% of all stolen cars had keys in the car.
“Leaving your unsecured car running is not something we have the luxury of doing anymore, we don’t leave chains in the car,” says Chief Spagnolo. “Make sure that even at the gas pump, you take your keys out of the car, and lock it.” The president also recommends getting a paddle for your steering wheel. But the problem is more than just an opportunity. “I think we have a problem with juvenile car theft here,” Chief Spagnolo says. Of the 69 juveniles arrested in 2023 for carjacking, about 40% were repeat offenders, the chief says. “There’s this small group that keeps reoffending and continues to engage in criminal activity and it shows up on our radar that we’re really failing, that we’re not doing anything for them,” Chief Spagnolo says.
He says that’s what the Legislature, working alongside police and community partners, should take a look at.
“We’re constantly putting them back in the community with the same problems, the same conditions they faced when they got into trouble the first time, and we need to figure out how to fix that,” Chief Spagnuolo says. “These kids often have issues with truancy, they’re not in school when they should be in school. They’re not in the positions they should be in. There’s not a lot of structure in their lives, so you know they’re not attending sporting events or participating In family activities. We as a law enforcement agency, as a legislature, and as a state are failing. We do not change their circumstances but we expect them to have different outcomes.
There were also 44 adults arrested for car theft in 2023. Chief Spagnuolo credits the work of the Waterbury Motor Vehicle Task Force.
“A lot of car theft arrests are made after the fact,” Spagnolo says.
To find out where thefts occur in Waterbury:
Meriden police numbers show that more cars are reported stolen on Wednesdays, and more are reported stolen between 7 and 9 a.m. than any other day or time. Of the 288 thefts, 38% were stolen directly outside the house or apartment, 30% from the parking lot/garage and 25% from the highway/road/alley.
To find out where thefts occur in Meridian:
There were 23 thefts in Avon as of Sept. 22, with the majority recovered in Hartford, Waterbury, Meriden and Bristol, according to the data.
To find out where thefts occur in Avon:
According to Bethel Police, only two vehicles were reported stolen from January 1, 2023 through the end of September.
They were from the Old Hollyville Road area. And Sunny Acres. Both cars were stolen on the same night and were unlocked with the keys left inside.
One was recovered in New Haven. The exact time of the robbery is unknown. They were reported around 7 a.m.
Bristol Police data was not readily available, but they told the I-Team in early October that they had approximately 150 reports of “vehicle theft” since the beginning of the year and 70 reports of “stolen vehicle recovery” for the same time period.
Fifty-two cars were stolen in Branford Township from Jan. 1 through Sept. 26, according to police.
All but 6 were recovered. 21% of cars stolen in New Haven have been recovered.
To find out where thefts occur in Branford:
A total of 19 cars were reported stolen in Brookfield, according to police.
26% theft was reported on Saturday.
To find out where thefts occur in Brookfield:
4 cars reported stolen in Coventry.
According to police, on February 26, an ATV was stolen off Sam Green Road. Not recovered yet.
On May 15, an ATV was taken from Oak Leaf Drive.
On July 3rd, a car was stolen from Stonehouse Road. She was found on New Park Road in Franklin within 24 hours of the robbery, according to police. It was destroyed and abandoned.
On August 11, a vehicle was taken from Flanders Road. According to police, she was found on Ives Street in Willimantic within a short period of time due to an Apple Airtag inside the vehicle.
34 cars have been reported stolen since the start of the year in Cheshire.
Jeeps and Hondas are some of the most popular models to steal from 2021 so far.
12 cars were recovered in Waterbury and Meriden. The rest are in New Britain, New Haven, Cheshire, Cromwell and Wolcott.
Cheshire Police Department has its own dashboard, which includes a map, here.
27 cars were reported stolen in Darien.
According to police, all but three of these incidents involved unlocking vehicles and the keys were inside the vehicle.
24 were recovered, most of which were found in New Haven, then Bridgeport, and some even recovered in New Jersey and New York.
To find out where thefts occur in Darien:
53 cars have been stolen in Derby since the start of the year. Only 4 were not recovered.
47% had a torn steering column, something social media said was easy to do on some Hyundai and Kia models.
More than 27% of them had the keys inside the car when it was stolen.
40% of the stolen cars were Hyundai, and 20% were Kia.
To find out where thefts occur in Derby:
There were 13 stolen vehicles in the Town of East Hampton. Among those items were a motorcycle and a jet ski, which were not recovered.
To find out where thefts occur in East Hampton:
East Hartford Police referred us to the statistics on their website here.
According to the website, 185 vehicles were reported stolen, of which 139 were recovered.
There were 7 cars stolen in East Lyme. All 7 were recovered.
To find out where thefts occur in East Lyme:
102 vehicles were reported stolen in Middletown.
62 people were recovered, most of them recovered in Middletown.
To find out where thefts occur in Middletown:
January 1, 2021 until the end of August.
38 were stolen and 28 were recovered.
10 were recovered in Waterbury.
To find out where thefts occur in New Milford:
There were 63 stolen vehicles in Newington and 31 of them were recovered.
To find out where thefts occur in Newington:
29 vehicles were stolen in Plainville Township. 22 were recovered.
To find out where thefts occur in Plainville:
8 vehicles were stolen in Stonington Township.
To find out where thefts occur in Stonington:
There were 31 stolen vehicles in Watertown, 29 of which were recovered.
To find out where thefts occur in Watertown:
There have been 22 vehicles stolen at Windsor Locks as of September 26.
To find out where thefts occur at Windsor Locks:
There have been 10 thefts in Woodbridge, and 8 cars have been recovered.
To find out where thefts occur in Woodbridge:
As of September 26, one vehicle theft had occurred on a UConn property. It happened on April 15 on the UConn Stamford campus. The car, according to UConn, was taken at 7:58 a.m. from the parking garage. She was recovered at 8:40 a.m. the same day when the suspect crashed the car.
We will continue to ask police departments for their data, and will update it when we receive it.
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(tags for translation)car thefts