They’re hoping the high-tech plan will ease the epidemic of stolen cars.
In 2021, 14,230 cars were stolen in New Jersey, and data from the fist quarter of 2022 shows a 37-percent increase over that. New Jersey state has budgeted $10 million in federal aid to address the out-of-control car theft problem. A big part of the plan is to equip more patrol cars with plate readers, which are already in use in many of the cities in the state.
Watch the latest Motorious Podcast here.
The funds are available to the state from the American Rescue Plan for COVID recovery allotted to NJ. This might have you scratching your head as to what this has to do with COVID, but the ARP's State Fiscal Recovery Fund does have some strings attached and ways they can use the funds that aren’t directly related to the pandemic.
“We’re going to put it to use to ensure our suburban police departments have the tools they need to keep our communities safe from crime,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
“You can’t put a price tag on the feeling of security, but we know these dollars are a worthwhile investment,” Murphy said.
“According to the data that we have from the State Police, these stolen vehicles are not always, in fact often are not isolated incidents,” said acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “They’re increasingly linked to other serious crimes, in particular shootings.”
“This is a threat to our state’s safety,” Platkin said.
Additional funds will go to surveillance cameras along the major roadways. The State Police auto theft task force also received $125k in funds, with additional resources joining the force.
Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn urges action before it’s ‘too late’, although many would say that it’s well past that point. "This criminal utopia created by the administration needs to come to an end before it is too late," Flynn said.
Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger added, "criminals confidently smile at the police and go on their merry way with their stolen property.”