NORWALK, Conn. – As one of Connecticut’s larger cities, Norwalk is not immune to the issues that accompany urban life, including safety. So, The Norwalk Daily Voice asked readers on Facebook whether they felt safe in the city.
A majority of the nearly 30 respondents said yes they did feel safe in Norwalk, and quite a few also said they sort of felt safe. But almost one-third of residents who answered the question said no they do not feel safe in the city.
“I grew up in Norwalk and then moved to two other towns in Connecticut for 33 yrs,” wrote Lorraine Delia Watcke. “I moved back almost three years ago, and I have to say NO I do NOT feel safe in Norwalk!”
Greg Lally agreed. “No way. But after what happened in Newtown, I don't feel safe anywhere.”
In next year’s city spending plan, Mayor Richard Moccia is recommending the addition of three new police officers to the force, the first new position hires in several years.
Moccia has said that violent crime is down significantly in the city – by about 19 percent in the first six months of 2012 – and the department, under both former Chief Harry Rilling and current Chief Thomas Kulhawik, has tried to be proactive in its approach to making Norwalk safer. One example is the department’s recently launched initiative with federal prosecutors and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to identify and arrest violent offenders.
To many, Norwalk is as safe today, or safer, than it has ever been.
“Feel completely safe,” wrote Board of Education member Mike Barbis. “Never thought twice about it.”
“Yes, the city of Norwalk officials do a great job running the city and keeping our city in triple A rating,” wrote Jason Petrini. “Look at the last snow storm we had, if you ask me Norwalk’s in a lot better shape and safer than most cities in Connecticut.”
Others agreed, but they said they take a more cautious approach.
“Safe is a relative thing,” wrote Ken Prince Jr. “I feel perfectly safe in most of Norwalk but there are definitely some shady areas where I am more careful.”
Brian Burgess believes it would not take much to negatively change some perceptions.
“Feel relatively safe, but when you see some of the senseless stuff going on ALL over town, it wouldn't take much to blow everyone's feelings of security away,” he wrote. “We could be a LOT safer.”