(WFSB) - As lawmakers continue talks on how to fix a spike in juvenile crimes, terrifying car thefts keep happening.

As lawmakers continue talks on how to fix a spike in juvenile crimes, terrifying car thefts keep happening.

The latest incident occurred in West Hartford last night when a 16-year-old allegedly stole a car in broad daylight with a 2-year-old child in the back seat.

Luckily, the child was returned to its parents unharmed.

The main focus is on trying to prevent a small group of juveniles from repeatedly stealing cars and committing other related crimes, and, specifically, lock those kids up or get them into a group home.

Yesterday, police say the suspect pulled over once he noticed the child in the backseat and left it in a restaurant parking lot in the babyseat.

The child was reunited with it’s mother. The suspect then drove off and police had to use a spike strip, causing the suspect to crash into another car.

Police charged the 16-year-old with several crimes, including second degree kidnapping and reckless endangerment.

RELATED: NY teen in custody after stealing vehicle in West Hartford with 2-year-old child inside

When Eyewitness News checked with West Hartford Police Wednesday, they didn’t know if that order was granted.

Police say in general, those orders are often denied.

One fix floated by some lawmakers would be letting police see a suspect’s criminal history.

Police can get this information for adults, but not for juveniles.

Another idea is getting juveniles into diversionary programs sooner after their first arrest, in hopes of keeping them from getting into even more trouble.

"For those repeat offenders, and there are maybe a hundred of them that cause the overwhelming majority of these crimes, we ought to know who they are, judges ought to know who they are, so they can come up with the right way to handle this," Gov. Ned Lamont stated.

"The history is what’s important here, because it's these repeat offenders that you hear a lot about that we’re looking to stop here," Rep. Craig Fishbein said.

House Democrat Toni Walker says police could also use training on how to request a detention order, but it's hard to know what's going on, because the state doesn't track what happens with detention order requests.

A new state law requires the court system to record when judges approve or deny requests starting this Fall.

Lawmakers met with the State Police and Department of Children and Families yesterday, and they plan to have more meetings next week.

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(2) comments


These car jackings are not unique to Connecticut. They've been plaguing the Chicago area for the past 2 years. This is a nationwide phenomenon that requires thoughtful efforts to bring it under control. It doesn't take a lot of punks to essentially terrorize a community via car jackings. They will be curtailed only if we address the root causes of why they're grabbing these cars. From the research so far, we know some do it for kicks, others do it to make money selling them to chop shops. If we continue to ignore the root causes, we don't really solve much and the cycle just goes on and on (darn, I think I just stepped into a Joni Mitchell song).


Let's be honest, diversionary programs will not work and will only waste taxpayer dollars. Treat these juvenile criminals just as you would treat adult criminals. It's time this state gets tough on crime across the board!!!

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