Here’s what NJ is doing about the alarming new auto theft statistics

I always thought my car was safe in my local mall parking lot as long as it was locked, but it seems I could be wrong.

In 2021, there was a total of 14,320 cars stolen in New Jerseya 22% increase from 2020, according to state police data.

Although many of these thefts have occurred in more luxurious vehicles, this does not necessarily mean that non-luxury cars are safe. Recently, the cops have dispersed to other suburban towns in order to intercept these crimes.

The auto theft task force also received $125,000 in federal funds to purchase more auto theft defense equipment. It’s unclear what materials this grant will go to, but hopefully it will mean more security and surveillance in public car parks.

There is also a new policy in New Jersey that states you can only chase vehicles if you believe a major crime such as murder or assault has been committed. This has made it much more difficult to detect car thefts, as a police officer can no longer chase a car simply because it is speeding.

Fortunately, the police always have the ability to find stolen vehicles as long as they have license plate information, so all hope is not lost.

In the meantime, if you’re worried about leaving your car in public, take these additional steps to prevent theft:

— Make sure you never leave your keys or your vehicle unattended, especially if it is running.

— Park in populated or well-lit areas.

— Make sure all windows and doors are locked and closed.

— And finally, make sure all valuables are hidden.

The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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