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State report: Violent crime down 13.3 percent in Norwalk

Overall crime in Norwalk dipped slightly in 2013.
Overall crime in Norwalk dipped slightly in 2013.

NORWALK, Conn. – You were less likely to be murdered, raped or beaten in Norwalk in 2013 than in 2012, but slightly more likely to get ripped off.

The 2013 Crime in Connecticut report was released Monday, and the overall news was good. According to the Connecticut Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, maintained by the Connecticut State Police Crime Analysis Unit, crime statewide hit a 40-year low.

In Norwalk, violent crime was down, but property crime was up slightly.

To download the complete report, including past years, click here.

The report found that crime had dropped 8.6 percent in Connecticut during 2013. Violent crime dropped by 10.8 percent that same year, and property crime declined by 7.6 percent.

“We have not seen crime numbers this low in more than 40 years and we have a population that is 20 percent larger today than it was 40 years ago,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a press release announcing the report. He said that the drop in violent crime was double the 5.4 percent decline nationally.

In Norwalk, violent crime dipped 13.3 percent in 2013, as the city experienced a homicide-free year after seeing three in 2012. Rapes increased from 9 to 14 total, but aggravated assault dropped from 192 to 163.

Overall, crime in Norwalk fell about 1 percent.

“I have not had a chance to review in depth but yes the numbers look good,” Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said. “We have seen a reduction over the past 5 years and that trend has continued.  Thus far this year the numbers continue to look good. I was especially pleased with our clearance rate which was right at about the state average and higher than most other larger cities.”

Norwalk’s total crime clearance rate was slightly lower than the state’s. Norwalk cleared 23.2 percent of its cases, while the statewide rate was 24.1 percent. However, Norwalk’s rate was tops among the state’s eight largest cities, the next best being Waterbury, with a 21.6 percent closure rate. Hartford closed 20.9 percent, and Stamford closed 20.5 percent. Bridgeport, Danbury and New Haven were in the 19’s, and New Britain cleared 17.2 percent.

Also among the cities, Danbury had the lowest crime rate, with 1,727.8 crimes per 100,000 population. Stamford had 1,844.1 per 100,000, and Norwalk was third best at 2,248.8. The worst? New Haven, with 5,953.7.

In the three major cities, those numbers meant overall crime was down 9 percent in New Haven, 7 percent in Hartford, and 15 percent in Bridgeport. Violent crime was down 14 percent in New Haven, 11 percent in Hartford, and 20 percent in Bridgeport.

Kulhawik said that Norwalk’s violent crime reduction is due to many factors.

“There has been an overall trend nationwide (although there are some individual cities/towns that are the exception),” he wrote in an email response to NancyOnNorwalk. “We have been partnering with both our federal partners (ATF/FBI/DEA/US Marshals) and now the State Police, which has expanded our resources. We have also expanded our forensic unit, who, working in conjunction with the State Forensic Lab, has allowed us to process more evidence for DNA, leading to more suspects being identified and more cases being linked. This has allowed individuals who may be involved in violent crime to be taken off the streets often for other crimes, even where the intended victims are uncooperative.

“Finally, our patrol and detectives have been very diligent on conducting thorough investigations and working cooperatively,” Kulhawik said.

Mayor Harry Rilling, who spent 17 years as Norwalk’s chief of police and 41 years overall as a police officer, said, “I am very pleased to see crime continue its downward trend in Norwalk. There are many variables that factor into this phenomenon, not the least of which is the professionalism and effectiveness of our police department. Our community outreach programs continue and to get the results we strive to achieve.”

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