Law enforcement agencies work to stem rising cases of car thefts in New Jersey
Car thefts hit an all-time high in New Jersey last year. With the crimes increasing yet again this year, state police are now teaming with local law enforcement to try to put a stop to it.
New Jersey state police say an average of 46 cars are stolen every day in New Jersey. Lawmakers say that this number is concerning even with a recent drop in numbers.
Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill represents the 11th District in Montclair. She held a town hall event at Montclair State University recently to answer questions from her constituents and tackle some current concerns – one of them being the rise in car thefts.
State police say more than 10,000 cars have been stolen in New Jersey this year – a 25% increase from last year.
“We’re 24% above where we were this time last year,” says State Police Major Joseph Brennan. “Last year was the worse recorded year in the history of auto theft in the state of New Jersey.”
Brennan says troopers are tracking the situation in real time. He says in the last four weeks, car thefts have been down 11%. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office reversed a policy earlier this year to allow police to chase car thieves.
“What was identified as a problem by chiefs of police across the state as being a contributing factor for the sharp increase in motor vehicle thefts,” Brennan says.
So how can New Jersey residents keep their cars safe? Brennan says that most stolen cars were taken because the key fobs were left inside of the vehicle. He says that it is critical to make sure cars and homes are locked. Key fobs and garage door openers should not be left inside cars.
State police say that 80% of cars stolen in New Jersey are recovered. The other 20% are likely sold.
There is a statewide auto theft task force which is comprised of local, county, state and federal agencies sharing information to combat the problem.