On Tuesday, Dec. 11, a Branford resident said she was “extremely frightened” after being followed at the Branford train station off Kirkham and Maple streets from a Shore Line East commuter train. She said she was followed through the parking lot. She is a regular commuter on this Amtrak line, five days a week, and said she never saw the man who followed her before.
Her boyfriend, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, e-mailed Patch asking that we share her story to warn others.
My girlfriend lives in Branford and last night (12-11-12) as she was getting off the Shore Line East train at the stop near Kirkham, a strange man followed her. She was extremely frightened and had me on the phone. As she was about to leave the train station parking lot on foot, she decided to turn back because she did not want this man to see where she lived. When she turned she literally ran into him because he was walking extremely close to her. As she headed back through the parking lot, he also turned and continued to follow her. Luckily, two people who were on the same train were in their car and asked her if the man was following her and offered her a ride home. According to my girlfriend, the man looked perturbed that she got into the car. She says that she had never seen him on that train, which she rides 5 days a week and that he had possibly got on in Stamford. She did call the Branford police upon arriving home safely.
I wanted to inform you so that you could possibly warn others about this.
Branford Police Captain Geoffrey Morgan confirmed that this incident was documented but said there is no investigation at this time. He did warn, however, that while most people call a loved one first, it is always best to dial 911 if you feel threatened. “If you’re being followed, if the hair is starting to rise on the back of your neck, you need to call 911,” he cautioned.
In this case, the woman waited to call police until she felt safe and secure; Branford Police warned that waiting could be too late.
Morgan said residents should never think twice about calling if they feel intimated or see something suspicious. “That’s what we get paid to do – to reduce people’s fears,” he said.
This time of year, Morgan said residents should be on higher alert than normal. “It’s a time of year when people are out there trying to take advantage of opportunities.” Morgan said, someone’s lack of capable guardianship – leaving items unattended in a car, ect.. – is what creates opportunities for potential criminals. “This season,” he said, "is ripe for people to take advantage of the circumstances.”
With the Shore Line East incident, Morgan said both Branford Police and Amtrak Police patrol the area and have not noticed a pattern of suspicious activity. Patroling the station is part of a routine, but there has not been a “ton of crime” occurring there at this time added Morgan.
The station is equipped with video surveillance and emergency call boxes. Also, Amtrak followed a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design plan when designing the station to ensure rider safety. Features of this plan include low bushes to keep sight lines open as well as ample lighting.