News Department

Morris County: Don’t forget to secure your vehicles, remove key fobs

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, and Morris County Police Chiefs Association President Ross Johnson remind residents to always secure their vehicles.

July is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. It is expected that this coming month will see a sharp increase, as has occurred over the past two years. July has been the most popular month of the year for auto thefts.

While law enforcement efforts to date have shown great promise, as auto theft is down 49.35% countywide compared to the same time last year, continued cooperation by our citizens is absolutely vital to reducing theft opportunities when cars are left unsecured.

Residents/citizens are reminded to always lock their vehicles and residences, and to remove all fobs and valuables from inside their cars, even if the vehicles are parked in the driveway or inside the garage.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit, Morris County Auto Theft Task Force, and Morris County Sheriff’s Trends and Analysis Team (MCSTAT) has remained focused on combating the trend of organized thieves stealing unlocked vehicles.

These criminal enterprises have capitalized on unsecured vehicles to steal a significant number of vehicles, targeting neighborhoods where they suspect vehicles are unlocked. Thieves often operate overnight and target luxury vehicles. These criminals have been known to steal other vehicles to commit violent crimes, including robberies.

Motor Vehicle Thefts                                   Morris County          New Jersey

2020                                                                269                              11,785

2021                                                                240                              14,416

2022                                                                273                              15,816

2023 (as of June)                                            78                                7,029

Of the vehicles stolen in Morris County so far in 2023, 72% percent of vehicles were left unlocked.

Major hotspot municipalities in the county include Parsippany, Morris Township, Montville, Morristown and Mountain Lakes. Popular vehicle targeted by thieves include BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and Honda.

Morris County accounts for 1.1% of vehicle thefts statewide.

Recent criminal behavior has included utilizing unsecured vehicles to commit burglaries and home invasions, escalating the danger of confrontation with homeowners.

We also ask you to help us solve crimes by reporting any suspicious activity that you view on your personal surveillance cameras. Even if you are not the victim of a crime, sharing information with law enforcement can potentially assist with solving other thefts. If you have access to any suspicious camera footage, please provide a copy of it to your local police department.

Morris County Law Enforcement is working collectively to disrupt these organized thieves.

The MCPO Intelligence Unit, Morris County Police Chiefs Association, and Morris County Sheriff’s Office maintain the Auto Theft Task Force. These agencies devote resources and staff to develop intelligence and target the individuals responsible for victimizing property owners residing in Morris County, and work collaboratively with the New Jersey State Police to target organized criminal auto theft activity.

Another such strategy is the purchasing and utilization of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR), at key locations through Morris County and New Jersey, in a coordinated statewide network to disrupt crime. This technology is implemented through the guidelines set by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

Law enforcement is asking the public to do their part by taking preventative steps to secure their homes, garages, and motor vehicles. Together, law enforcement and residents can help prevent these crimes from occurring.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit works in conjunction with local law enforcement and is guided by intelligence to address this criminal trend. A great number of cars stolen in Morris County were taken because the key fob was left inside. We implore residents not to allow criminals to take advantage of their forgetfulness – get into the routine of taking your fob with you when you park. Alarmingly, there have been instances of thieves using garage door openers to access homes, potentially setting up a confrontation with residents, Carroll said.

“The Morris County Sheriff’s Office and our law enforcement partners set goals and objectives focused on safety. The safety of others and the safety of other’s personal property.  Both are affected when a car theft occurs.  Property is lost when a vehicle is stolen and often, that vehicle is used to commit crimes against others.  The Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Trends and Analysis Team are working diligently to ensure everyone’s safety and that their property is secure.  Please do your part and be mindful of this crime trend.  Be vigilant in securing your vehicle properly and be sure to share any captured alarming or odd surveillance footage with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office or your local law enforcement agency,” Gannon said.

“Would-be thieves have ways of determining which vehicles contain key fobs without needing to look inside. We have seen organized groups target a neighborhood, and steal multiple cars and valuables from inside unsecured vehicles. Making your car inaccessible is the greatest deterrent,” Johnson said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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