Over the past 30 years there have always been concerns that Southington’s location would be detrimental because of its central location and easy access to major cities like Hartford and New York. Interstate 84 and its five ramps in town traditionally would be inviting to criminals and the excess of illegal activity.
Fortunately, Southington has survived the temptation of the bad elements thanks to old-fashioned community life, the awareness of good citizens and, obviously, a dedicated police department.
It was announced recently that Southington is ranked one of the safest towns in Connecticut. This comes as no surprise to residents despite the fact that the town has grown from 15,000 people in the 1960s to 43,000 in 2018. Distinct neighborhoods, from downtown streets to rural stretches, have blossomed here.
Over the years, town officials have focused on maintaining the town’s well financed police and fire departments. Although Southington has over 200 miles of roads and a number of restaurants and shopping plazas within its limits, the community has benefited from the influx of new residents who care about their town and their neighborhood. It is not by chance that Southington has survived to be a safe community. Police leaders here have developed effective routines of contacts throughout the town who supply helpful information. Town police cruisers are manned by hometown officers who loyally protect their fellow citizens. The fire department has been well financed by the town and boasts some of the best equipment in the state.
SafeWise’s annual report on the safest towns and cities reported that Southington ranked 20th among the state’s municipalities. When comparing the town to neighboring communities, it is somewhat surprising that it has not been overrun by the elements that make towns and cities unsafe.
Neighborhood watch groups are more effective here because residents realize criminals can quickly ruin a neighborhood’s reputation.
There will always be burglaries, vandalism, car break-ins and robberies. The town is not immune to the woes of society. Yet, citizens here notice that police reports show that the rise in arrests indicate criminals are mostly from out-of-town
The SafeWise reports reviews the most recent FBI crime statistics and population data when compiling annual rankings. The evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes in each city per 1,000 people.
Mike Montana -- bar owner was special
There are bar owners and then there are owners of bars. Many were saddened last week with the news that local bar owner Mike Montana had passed away. Montana, 53, decided to open a bar downtown 12 years ago called the Groggy Frogg. It was not fancy. It was one room with little privacy and Not too many tables. While the kitchen was tiny, it still put out darn good food , especially award winning chicken wings. The Groggy Frogg was Montana’s pride, and he was a fixture there and just about everywhere. As a good citizen he donated to non-profit causes and gave his free time to coaching youth football, at Southington High with Montana was the kind of bar owner that patrons truly enjoyed. He wasn’t an absentee owner. He talked, laughed and tipped a glass with them.
In the 1980s, after he graduated, he worked at my sports lounge. He was a loyal employee as a doorman who often went after the first person who cursed about the place, the owner or his friends. Yet, Montana stumbled at first as a new bartender until he learned how to craft perfect cocktails. He then wanted his own bar. For years, Montana proved that all bars are not successful. It takes personality, a fun and safe atmosphere, decent prices and an owner who is present with his clients.