FAIRFIELD — Local police are using every tactic at their disposal, including social media and electronic signs, in an attempt to stem the tide of car break-ins and stolen cars.

According to Lt. Robert Kalamaras, from July 1 to Aug. 1, 14 cars were stolen and 31 vehicles broken into, from one end of town to the other. All 14 cars had the keys inside, and the cars that were entered were unlocked. All but one stolen car has been recovered.

“We’ve advertised on social media, on our website, and through the news media,” Kalamaras said. “Now, we’re hoping the public will heed these warnings and help make our neighborhoods less desirable to criminals.”

The department has tweeted out warnings, stationed electronic message boards around town, and sent out a Code Red message urging residents to lock their cars and take their valuables with them.

“We’ve also changed our tactics in some areas in an effort to combat this,” Kalamaras said.

Unlike in the past, the stolen cars are usually taken by the criminals who are breaking into cars, using them as a way to get home, and then abandoning them.

Early in the morning Aug. 3, an officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Mill Hill Terrace, near Bronson Road, around 2 a.m. The vehicle, a Honda, fled. Another officer spotted the car at a traffic light on Black Rock Turnpike. Inside were four young men, wearing hooded sweatshirts.

When the officer turned his patrol car around, the Honda sped off through the red light and onto the Merritt Parkway, driving over 100 mph. The officer lost sight of the car and broke off the pursuit. At exit 46, another office spotted the Honda and put down a pike strip. The car kept on going and was later found abandoned on Park Avenue in Bridgeport. It had been reported stolen out of Milford.

Police from Bridgeport, Trumbull and Milford assisted in the incident.

The occupants were gone but inside the car was a piece of evidence that didn’t belong the car’s owner, pointing to a Waterbury school. Several of the cars stolen out of Fairfield have been recovered in Waterbury.

“There are types of crimes that are preventable,” Kalamaras said, “by simply locking your car and taking your valuables with you.” Residents should also report any suspicious activities to the police.

People, Kalamaras said, have to be willing to break old habits, like leaving a wallet or laptop in the car overnight and leaving that same car unlocked. And it may be tempting to leave that key fob in the car so you’re not looking for it in the morning, but that leaves your car unlocked and vulnerable to being stolen, police said.

“Our job is to provide crime-prevention techniques to eliminate this type of crime, “ Kalamaras said, though he admitted that for some people, those old habits won’t change unless they themselves become victims.

And the thefts aren’t just happening in the Fairfield, Kalaramas said.

In Trumbull, a 2010 Audi was taken from a driveway on Leonard Place sometime between Aug. 2 and 3. The valet key had been left inside, along with a laptop computer. 

greilly@ctpost.com; @GreillyPost