Murphy Announces Plan to Combat Auto Theft as Crime Hits Close to Home


Auto theft across NJ in September of this year dropped 14% from a year ago. Meanwhile, in Morris County auto theft is on the rise, up 19% in 2022 from a year prior.

Early Monday morning, a resident of Washington Avenue of Morristown, NJ, had a white SUV stolen from their driveway while they slept. The criminals reportedly drove the car across a neighboring lawn to get away with the vehicle.

With auto crime growing closer to home for Morristown residents, Morristown Minute brings you the latest State news on our governor's work to combat auto theft in New Jersey.

Yesterday, Governor Murphy announced a series of legislation and administrative actions focused on combating auto theft in New Jersey.

The Governor proposed:

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

The governor also announced that the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJ MVC) will work towards implementing 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.”

Earlier this year, Governor Murphy announced a $10 million investment in automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology aimed at reducing violent crime and auto theft in New Jersey, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

Additionally, in March of this year, NJs attorney general allocated resources towards growing the Auto Theft Task Force (ATTF). Since March, NJ State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) have added additional detectives and prosecutors to the ATTF. $125k in federal Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds were also allocated towards the ATTF, to bolster resources and capabilities, including equipment purchases and more.

Attorney General Platkin has also revised the police pursuit policy to explicitly permit the pursuit of stolen cars, among other efforts.

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