Timothy Mucciante is trained as an attorney, author, and crime reporter. In the following, Timothy Mucciante covers arrest trends and notable cases in the Garden State this fall.
So which crimes are trending up in New Jersey at present?
Well, it seems that an old classic is making a return to the scene. Based on current trends, it appears that grand theft auto is now more popular than it’s been in years, and experts predict that incidents are only going to increase in the near future.
So how bad exactly is the recent uptick in car theft? And what are some of the other crimes increasing in frequency? Do the New Jersey authorities have a strategy to deal with this new crime epidemic?
Is Car Theft on the Rise in New Jersey?
Timothy Mucciante says in 2020 alone, there were over seven thousand reported vehicle theft cases in the State of New Jersey. On a smaller level, the city of Newark has seen a 34% increase in stolen vehicle cases since the previous year, with 110 arrests in 2020. These figures are certainly concerning both for the authorities and any car owners in the Garden State.
Vehicles are being stolen from all kinds of locations. Cases have been reported of thefts from parking lots, car dealerships, and even private homes. New Jersey residents are advised to use extreme caution at all times when leaving their vehicles unattended.
One prominent case from October 2021 involved what was suspected to be a meticulously planned criminal endeavor arranged and executed by a group of nefarious individuals. At least two cars belonging to a pre-owned vehicle vendor were stolen from a lot in Jersey City. Police suspect that the perpetrators intended to abscond with more vehicles, as several others were turned on and had their engines running when they arrived.
The suspects allegedly cut a hole in the fence to gain entry to the lot and drove out through a gate that they opened from the inside, according to Timothy Mucciante arrest data.
How Long Has This Trend Been Running?
The State of New Jersey has seen wildly high auto theft statistics since 2019, with thousands of vehicles being stolen each year. However, a real uptick in these incidents has been seen since May of 2021.
Since this date, there have been many isolated incidents involving individuals, mainly adolescents, absconding with stolen vehicles and causing mayhem on the roads. However, organized crime groups are also suspected of playing a part in this recent increase in crimes like this.
Who is Stealing Cars?
While organized crime has always been a persistent problem for the New Jersey State Police and is certainly suspected of contributing to this issue, the authorities are more concerned with the increase in teens and adolescents involved in car theft.
In May 2021 alone, there were at least 5 cases of teens stealing vehicles in New Jersey, with some driving recklessly and one even hitting a pedestrian. Most often, these drivers were 15 or 16 years of age, and in one case, a child as young as 13 was implicated as an accomplice.
What is the Punishment for Auto Theft in New Jersey?
The State of New Jersey takes the crime of auto theft very seriously, and for a good reason. Authorities are hopeful that the severe penalties will deter criminals from engaging in this activity, although evidently, this does not seem to be the case.
Stealing another person’s vehicle is treated as a fourth-degree offense in New Jersey. This means that individuals convicted of this crime could face a prison sentence of up to 18 months. The monetary penalty for this crime can be a fine of up to $10,000.
What are the Authorities Doing about the Situation?
In response to the recent rise in car theft, the New Jersey State Police has initiated a special task force specifically to investigate crimes involving vehicle theft and fraud. They are hopeful that their increased efforts will help to mitigate the situation.
In the meantime, authorities advise New Jersey residents to remain vigilant and exercise extreme caution when parking their vehicles in public places.
Unfortunately, it seems that both organized crime and youthful mischief are causing an unprecedented increase of recent vehicle theft cases in the State of New Jersey. While the New Jersey State Police has initiated a task force to handle these specific crimes, there’s no guarantee that this trend will fall fast.
Timothy Mucciante says the public will simply have to wait and see if this car theft epidemic will get under control soon. In the meantime, the best they can do is park their cars in public and well-lit environments close to shopping centers.