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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Murphy Proposes Actions to Combat Auto Theft

Gov. Phil Murphy

By From Governor Phil Murphy

EWING – Governor Phil Murphy, alongside Senate President Nick Scutari and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, announced his support for a series of legislative proposals and administrative actions to combat auto theft in New Jersey Nov. 7. The announcement builds upon steps taken earlier this year, which have already proven to have an impact. Auto thefts in September of this year were down 14 percent from September of last year. And in October, auto thefts were down 12 percent from October of last year. 
“I am grateful for the collaborative work that has been done across government in partnership with law enforcement at the state and local levels to combat crime in our state,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s steps, which include increasing penalties for persistent auto theft offenders and criminalizing certain conduct related to auto theft tools and catalytic converters, will strengthen this administration’s efforts to reverse the uptick in vehicle theft we have witnessed over the past few years. 
“However, we also ask that our residents take additional measures to protect themselves from auto theft. If you cannot park your car in a closed and locked garage, make sure that your vehicle is locked and that the key fob is with you.” 
The Governor announced his support for a series of legislative measures to combat auto theft. Some versions of these measures have already been introduced, and the Governor looks forward to working with legislative leadership and the sponsors to advance these reforms through the legislative process. The Governor proposed:

  1. Establishing a persistent auto theft offender statute, which would give state and local prosecutors the option to seek more serious criminal consequences for those who have been repeatedly found guilty of stealing cars.
  2. Making possession and distribution of certain auto theft tools a crime.
  3. Imposing criminal penalties for the failure to comply with certain guidelines in the sale and purchase of catalytic converters.
  4. Investing in enhanced pretrial services, which will reduce the risk from individuals who are awaiting trial. This will include:
    1. Pretrial monitoring by law enforcement.
    2. Expansion of the use of house arrest paired with location monitoring.
    3. Providing additional resources related to substance abuse, mental health, and housing insecurity.

The Governor also announced that the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will start working to add a check box to vehicle registration paperwork allowing residents to “opt in” to a program that automatically permits law enforcement to track participating registered vehicles if a vehicle is ever stolen. Additionally, MVC will focus on messaging the importance to new drivers of safely handling key fobs by not leaving them inside the car or stored in their home too close to the car. 
“The Murphy Administration continues to take a comprehensive approach to keeping New Jersey residents safe. Particularly when it comes to combating the rise in auto thefts, we are deploying every tool possible–creative legislation, technological investments, and traditional enforcement. Public safety will always be our top priority,” said New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin. 
“Auto theft not only victimizes the owner of the vehicle, but it can also victimize the whole community. Stolen vehicles are often used in the commission of crimes and can be found driving recklessly on our roadways creating a dangerous environment for everyone,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“The support Governor Murphy has provided with the additional resources have proven to be pivotal in our effort to combat this national issue. Those resources added with the new legislative and administrative steps shows this state’s commitment to supporting not only law enforcement but it’s commitment to the safety of all New Jersey residents.” 

Spout Off

Lower Township – As a retired long time bus driver for NJT,and an even longer resident of LT : Thank you to all the school bus drivers for an accident free year. It is a monumental achievement in this day and age!

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