Derby leaders to discuss vandalism problem tonight
DERBY-A citywide meeting to combat what some city official believe is out of control vandalism will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in the Aldermanic chambers at city hall.
“It’s a citywide problem,” said Aldermanic President Carmen DiCenso. “We’ve invited the police chief, the superintendent of schools and the public works director as well as the public. I’m hoping we can come up with a plan.”
DiCenso, who is challenging Mayor Anita Dugatto for the Democratic mayoral nomination in front of the Town Committee next week, said there has been at least $8,500 worth of damage throughout the city.”
“We are doing expensive restoration work on the Civil War monument on the Green,” he said. “I’m very concerned.”
Anthony Staffieri, a third ward alderman and former mayor, is willing to allow the city to place a camera on his downtown building which faces the Green.
“There’s also the Sterling Opera House and the Gazebo where we could place cameras,” DiCenso said.
The vandalism including smashing several concrete benches on the Green, defacing signs at Witek Park and the Greenway and damaging water fountains.
However Arthur Gerckens, a second ward alderman, said the “perception is bad” but the actual number of incidents doesn’t show “any great new wave.”
“Either people are not reporting the incidents or they are just not there,” said Gerckens, whose duties at Sacred Heart University included public security. “Good cameras that can identify a person cost thousands. Do we want to spent that kind of money just to identify a first-offender teenager who will probably be fined or given community service? Derby does not have the money.”
Instead Gerckens believes community policing and public involvement are the way to go.
“If you see something may a call to police,” he said.