Millions of dollars in technology, policy reversal to help police fight growing number of vehicle thefts
Millions of dollars in technology will now help police officers fight the growing number of vehicle thefts, in addition to the attorney general also allowing police to once again pursue stolen vehicles.
The announcement came this morning with Gov. Phil Murphy speaking in front of a number of officers.
Vehicle thefts are up 37% in 2022 - after more than 14,000 stolen vehicles last year. Today's policy reversal and the announcement of $10 million toward the purchase of automatic license plate readers is designed to combat those numbers.
“Specifically, we will permit pursuits based on the commission of several additional crimes, notably car theft and receiving a stolen vehicle,” said acting Attorney General Matt Platkin. “At least at the end of this year, we will evaluate the impact of that policy change.”
The policy reversal allows police officers to chase suspects in stolen cars - like Evelyn Shallo's Range Rover, which was stolen from her driveway last weekend while she unloaded groceries in Brick Township.
“These are professionals, these are not novices, and they took my car to Ocean. Somewhere in Ocean, they disengaged that GPS system,” says Shallo.
The state police task force will also go after the root of the problem - teens and young adults sent to steal high end vehicles in suburban areas.
“This is really good stuff in the right direction,” says Gov. Phil Murphy. “New Jersey is not unique here, we've got a national increase in crime, in this case stolen vehicles crime. These two steps today are going to go a long way heading that off.”
Officers applauded the efforts of the attorney general. Marlboro Chief Peter Pezzullo says lawmakers listened to the concerns of police.
“It now opens the door for us to let the criminal element know that they can't just take a vehicle and drive away,” says Pezzullo.
The attorney general says 99% of stolen vehicles are ones with fobs left inside. The best prevention is to keep vehicles locked and fobs locked inside homes at all times.