With seven residential burglaries in the greater Storrs area in 2011, concerned residents are looking for ways to make their neighborhood safer.
Thursday, Sgt. Richard Cournoyer of Mansfield’s Resident State Trooper’s Office, along with Trooper Josh Woodward and Town Manager Matthew Hart, hosted a community meeting to address residents’ safety concerns. There, neighbors formed plans with local officials to begin a neighborhood crime watch - a group trained to observe and report suspicious activity or persons in their neighborhood to police.
“This is your meeting,” Cournoyer said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to work together and for you guys to get to know me and get to know my guys,” he said.
Cournoyer, who has served as sergeant for the Town of Mansfield since August 2011, said that while many of the burglary cases remain open, investigations are ongoing.
Residents looking to distinguish between rumored reports of break-ins and those of fact Thursday, were told by Cournoyer that the following roads in the greater Storrs area were hit by burglaries in 2011, according to reports received by police:
- February: Hanks Hill Road
- July: Gurleyville Road
- September: Gurleyville Road
- November: Gurleyville Road, Storrs Heights Road, Holly Drive
- December: Dog Lane
Despite the general location of the break-ins, Cournoyer was careful to point out that Mansfield is not dealing with “hard-core” crime.
Percentage-wise Mansfield has a lower crime rate than surrounding towns such as Willimantic, Chaplin, Ashford, Willington and Coventry, Cournoyer said. “We’re geographically a very large town, but statistically our crime rate is not higher,” he said.
“We have some of the best state troopers in all of Connecticut working right here in Mansfield. …Our goal is to prevent and reduce crime in our neighborhood,” Cournoyer said. “If there’s something we can all do together, then I’d absolutely like to do that,” he said.
That’s where the residents of Mansfield come in.
Those who attended Thursday’s meeting took the first steps to create a neighborhood watch group in their community. It will be the first active group in Mansfield in a number of years, according to Hart.
In addition, neighbors requested a better line of communication between the Town and general public in regards to criminal activity.
Hart said Mansfield would explore a number of options including, but not limited to, utilizing the Town’s Q-Notify system and posting press releases from the state police on the Town’s Web site.
“Not every single person has to commit to this,” Cournoyer said. “But what we can do is if you get the vast majority of you, everyone wants to be on board. …If we have to go door-to-door, we’ll solicit people that are willing to do that,” he said.
“I may never be able to prevent these completely,” Cournoyer said, referring to burglaries, “But we sure can try and work together.”
The group's first official meeting has yet to be determined. If you are interested in starting a crime watch in your neighborhood or would like to be part of the group forming in greater Storrs, contact Sgt. Cournoyer at 860-429-3390.