PARAMUS, NJ— Amid an increase in automotive thefts statewide, a New Jersey state senator hopes to place stiffer punishments for thieves into legislation.
Senator Joseph Lagana (D-38) launched two payments Thursday. These payments would improve the severity of car theft prices and impose harsher penalties for carjackings and car thefts.
Learn extra: ‘Critical’ Spike In NJ Automotive Thefts, AG Warns
“When an individual’s automotive is stolen, it wreaks havoc on their every day routine on prime of the monetary and emotional misery attributable to such a private violation,” mentioned Lagana, who represents Bergen and Passaic counties. “In New Jersey, the overwhelming majority of residents rely upon their automobiles to get forwards and backwards to work, to get their children to highschool, or to go wherever they have to be. A method to assist curtail automotive thefts is to ensure could be criminals know that justice will likely be swift and extreme.”
In 2021, there have been a complete of 14,320 automobiles stolen in New Jersey, a 22 p.c improve from 2020, in accordance with State Police information. Legislation enforcement departments throughout the Backyard State have been urging residents to lock their automotive doorways and safe their keys.
“This isn’t only a New Jersey drawback, however it’s a huge drawback in New Jersey,” Lagana mentioned. “I urge all residents to be vigilant with locking their automobiles and defending key fobs, however it is usually essential that we battle automotive theft and make jacking punishments that match the crime.”
The primary invoice Lagana launched upgrades motorcar theft from a third-degree crime to a second-degree crime.
A 3rd-degree crime is punishable by 3 to five years imprisonment, as much as a $15,000 wonderful, or each. A second-degree crime is as much as 5 to 10 years imprisonment, as much as a $150,000 wonderful, or each.
The second invoice permits a penalty for carjackers as much as $15,000 plus the worth of the stolen car and its contents, if the worth is greater than $5,000 and the car is just not discovered.
House owners of high-end autos (newer autos with a sticker costs of $50,000 and up) are much more in danger: In North Jersey, high-end motorcar thefts elevated 127 p.c from January 31, 2021 to January 31 of this yr, in accordance with the Legal professional Normal.
Probably the most generally stolen luxurious automobiles are BMW X6, Land Rover Vary Rover Sport, Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
The highest autos stolen statewide up to now in 2022 embody Honda Accord, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda CR-V, BMW X5 and BMW 3-Sequence, mentioned State Police.
State Police additionally mentioned they’re notably taking a look at what they name New Jersey’s CorrStat Area, a 19-mile stretch of Rt. 21 that connects Paterson and Newark. There are 80 northeast New Jersey cities in that CorrStat Area, together with Newark.
In 2021, the CorrStat Area accounted for 63 p.c of the state’s complete motorcar thefts. And automotive theft in that area is up 31 p.c up to now in 2022, mentioned State Police.
To fight the crime surge, Performing Legal professional Normal Matthew Platkin mentioned he’s including extra detectives and prosecutors to the state’s Auto Theft Process Power, in addition to bringing on board further police departments from suburban cities throughout the state.