Car theft hit a record high in New Jersey last year. With crime on the rise again this year, state police are now working with local law enforcement to stop crime.
According to the New Jersey State Police, an average of 46 cars are stolen in New Jersey every day. MPs say the numbers are a concern, despite recent declines.
Democratic Rep. Mickey Sherrill represents Montclair’s 11th District. She recently hosted a City Hall event at Montclair State University where she answered questions from voters and addressed current concerns. One of them is the increase in auto thefts.
More than 10,000 cars have been stolen in New Jersey this year, up 25% from last year, according to state police.
“It’s 24 percent higher than at this time last year,” said Major Joseph Brennan of the State Police. “Last year was the worst year in the history of auto thefts in New Jersey.”
Brennan says the troopers are tracking the situation in real time. According to him, in the last four weeks car thefts have dropped by 11%. Earlier this year, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office overturned a policy that would allow police to track car thieves.
“What police chiefs across the state have identified as a problem is contributing to the sharp rise in auto thefts,” says Brennan.
So how can New Jersey residents keep their cars safe? Brennan said most of the stolen cars were taken because the key fobs were left inside. He says it’s important to make sure your car and home are securely locked. Do not leave your key fob and garage door opener in your vehicle.
According to state police, 80% of stolen cars are recovered in New Jersey. The remaining 20% may be sold.
There is a statewide motor vehicle theft task force made up of local, county, state and federal agencies that share information to address this issue.