As weeks turn into months, Darien residents continue to leave their keys in their cars, according to Police Capt. Jeremiah Marron.

This is resulting in cars continuing to be stolen, Marron said at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.

In response, police are reminding residents to keep their cars locked and take their keys with them.

Other than public safety, staying on top of car break-ins is the midnight shift’s “top priority,” Marron said.

However, he said it’s very difficult for police to prevent this type of crime.

“It’s a needle in a haystack type of thing,” he said. “You can’t be in every neighborhood all the time and a lot of these suspects are on foot, hiding in the woods, hiding in between cars, driving with their headlights off, in stolen cars already — so it’s kind of a battle.”

Compared to other communities, Marron said he thinks the town of Darien is “below the norm” per capita in car burglary numbers. He defined car burglary as “unlocked cars that are being entered, whether items are being taken or not.”

However, he said he has a feeling that “per capita, our stolen car rate is a lot higher than some of the other towns. So that means more keys are being left in cars.”

Marron gave a car tip that he said many may not know: When higher end vehicles are locked, their mirrors fold up.

“So at night, when you’re driving around and you see a higher end vehicle with the mirrors out, that’s an indicator to the suspects that the cars are already unlocked, and most of these are proximity fob type ignition systems,” he said. “Most people, out of convenience, like to leave their fobs in the car and when they wake up, their car is gone and involved in robberies, pursuits, and a lot heavier degrees of crimes in other cities. So, it’s challenging for the whole area.”

The department’s highest level of success in preventing car break-ins, according to Marron, is when other agencies will make arrests, and most of the time it’s juveniles.

“Those juveniles are willing to speak to the agencies that have them in custody and they give or forecast information that may be beneficial to us that we could work with,” he said.

He added that cars are being entered into “all over town.”

“It’s not just the borders, it’s not just the dead-end roads, it’s all over, so there’s no real prediction ability there,” he said.

On a positive note, the detective division of the police department has had “some success” with follow-up investigations and making arrests, according to Marron. “We hope that that’s a deterrent in its own and can show that a town like Darien will invest its time in investigations.”

sfox@darientimes.com