CHESHIRE -- The town's police department has bumped up its coverage by 12 hours in response to recent break-ins and a need for traffic patrols.
The move was approved along with the fiscal 2014 budget at Monday's annual town meeting. It increased town spending on the department by $11,290.
"Times are changing," Police Chief Timothy Garner said in an interview Wednesday. "It's not like it used to be. We're getting a lot busier."
Selectmen's Chair Paul Astorino pointed at Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Selectmen to a recent "rash of break-ins," which included roughly five houses. The individual suspected to be responsible has been arrested and is being held at Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.
Selectwoman Carol Francesconi and Garner said there are other concerns, too.
Francesconi referred to the town as "a drive-through community" and said activity has picked up recently, while Garner pointed to drug sales and intoxicated motorists as being near the top of the list.
"I feel it's time to step up and become a little more visible," he said.
The new hours will be covered by existing staff, which includes one full-time officer and eight part-timers, including Garner. The total fiscal 2014 police department budget is $106,704.
Also on Tuesday, Selectmen, acting as the Conservation Commission, issued an emergency order allowing Bedard Bros. Auto Sales on South State Rd. to fix a collapsed driveway near wetlands.
Located on the property near the side of a culvert, the collapsed section of driveway was caused by recent persistent rain. Selectmen said the business can immediately seek a contractor to perform the job.
In other business, Town Administrator Mark Webber said the town recently received a grant from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency good for 10 portable cots.
The cots are reserved "in case we have a disaster and there's no place to go," and will be kept at the Cheshire Fire Department.