Klarides on ‘Connecticut’s Crime Epidemic’

Connecticut’s crime wave is an avoidable mess that serves as a prime example of what happens when one party rule and misguided policies jeopardize the safety and well-being of our residents.

Governor Lamont has continued Dan Malloy’s failed policies that have released thousands of convicts through an early-release program aimed at lowering the state’s prison population. The prison population has shrunk, but only because the state has simply let loose convicted felons, including many violent offenders who were serving time for some of the worst offenses. Democrats, under the guise of ‘criminal justice reform’, have done anything but reform the criminal justice system; they have simply put the lives of good, hardworking Connecticut citizens in danger.

There are endless studies and research on the roots of crime, and we can and should address those issues, but that does not mean we can afford to ignore it as it occurs. Unfortunately, the Democratic ruling majority is far more interested in slogans than in solutions.

This increase in crime is not just a blip on the radar, but the culmination of over a decades’ worth of misguided policies that have bolstered those who commit crimes and vilified those who serve to protect. Last summer, I stood with police officers across the state to fight against the Democrats’ move to remove qualified immunity for law enforcement officers. I spoke with current and former members of law enforcement—including my brother-in-law, who currently works as a police officer—about the need for reform, but again, what the Democrats call reform is rarely a reform at all. Their vote to end qualified immunity was just another nail in the coffin for law and order in Connecticut.

Connecticut citizens deserve to live safely and securely, but Democratic leadership has put politics over safety in our big cities and our small towns. Common sense would dictate violent felons should not be released early from prison, but common sense is not a common virtue in Hartford.

Crime has increased drastically and dramatically in cities and towns across the state. Just last week in New Britain, a jogger was hit and killed by a stolen vehicle, driven by an individual who had thirteen prior arrests over the last three and a half years including for assault with a knife, larceny, and robbery. In Glastonbury, there were 208 car break-ins last year and they are on track to reach or exceed that number this year. Recently, a woman in Glastonbury was shot at by potential car thieves.

Law and order is an issue that cuts across party lines and political ideologies; it is a basic tenet of a free society. Republican leadership has demanded the Democrats call a special session to address the juvenile crime rate, but Lamont and his allies have refused, leaving Connecticut residents to suffer while the Democrats pat themselves on the back and bury their heads in the sand.

Political expedience and a lack of courage has put the safety of every Connecticut citizen at risk. We need leaders who will make tough choices and take on Connecticut’s crime crisis and restore law and order in our state.

Themis Klarides
Madison, CT

Klarides served as House Minority Leader from 2015 through 2021

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