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EXCLUSIVE: More shootings and robberies as poll reveals plummeting faith in public safety

By Michael Bielawski

As a new poll came out this week showing that nearly a third of Vermonters don’t feel safe, there also continue to be more shootings and robberies that occur throughout the state.

Campaign for Vermont did polling on multiple issues that concern voters including public safety. Their press release states, “When asked how safe respondents felt in their community, 30% felt unsafe. Residents of Chittenden and Rutland counties and families with children were especially likely to express safety concerns.”

Ben Kinsley of Campaign for Vermont is quoted in a letter on the polling results.

“Crime, drugs, and public safety saw the most consistent responses across both question formats. Republicans were most likely to flag crime when asked about state-level challenges, but this issue also resonated with independents, particularly women. On the other hand, Democrats were more likely to identify drugs as a top issue, which independent women also agreed with.”

He notes that if those who listed drugs and crime were combined into one category, then public safety would be “the top issue facing the state”.

More crimes

Amid this news are new reports of shootings and other crimes. Some good news is a suspect in robberies occurring Sunday at convenience stores and gas stations in Lyndonville and St. Johnsbury was captured.

The police report states, “Thursday morning, state troopers executed a search warrant at the St. Johnsbury home of 42-year-old Anthony Shafer and arrested him on charges of attempted armed robbery and petit larceny. The attempted robbery charge arises from an incident at Nick’s Gas N’ Go in Lyndonville, and the larceny charge is connected to a theft several hours later at Center Tower in St. Johnsbury.”

Another shooting in Tunbridge occurred on Wednesday morning and a man was critically injured.

“First responders found the victim, an adult male, critically injured and rendered aid before transporting him by ambulance to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, for treatment of life-threatening injuries,” the police report states.

The man responsible for this shooting has already been interviewed by police. The report does not specify whether the person is still in custody.

Also, a murder suspect was taken in after a lengthy investigation concerning the Feb. 20 killing of Claudia M. Voight, 73, at her home in Windham.

“Shawn Conlon, 44, of Rhode Island was taken into custody Wednesday morning at a hotel in Groton, Connecticut, by the U.S. Marshals Service with the assistance of the Rhode Island State Police and the Groton Police Department. Members of the Vermont State Police, who have led the investigation into Ms. Voight's killing, arrived in Groton shortly after the suspect's arrest.”

It was determined that Conclon had been renting out a room in the woman’s home but he stopped paying rent and the conflict ultimately resulted in murder.

Social media comments

A social media commenter pointed to a depletion of State Police forces since 2020 that may have contributed to recent spikes in crime.

“Defund Police DemoKKKRats reduced State Police from 106 to 74 officers in 2020, get 185% rise in Gun Crime in Vermont that has every Gun Control Wet Dream available, while simultaneously Gun Crime is down 6% nationwide! And they want you disarmed!” @BlackRifle2 wrote on Monday.

Another commenter noted that new gun control measures don’t seem to be working out as planned. @MixterJames wrote, “GA got Constitutional Carry Jan 1, 2023. Crime is down. Vermont, in 2020, got all the gun controllers wet dreams for gun control - and they now have a 186% increase in ‘gun violence’.”

The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle


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