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Will New Spate Of Bills Targeting Auto Theft In NJ Stem Crisis, Or Exacerbate Inequities?


In New Jersey, lawmakers have approved a number of bills intended to crack down on auto theft. The measures include an upgrade of auto theft to a second-degree crime and legislation increasing penalties for carjacking and auto theft. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy described car thefts as having increased to a ‘near-epidemic’ level in the state, Katie Sobko reports for But many who testified to lawmakers or made themselves heard separately are critical of the new laws, which some fear will target specific demographics or will just be ineffective at addressing the core of the issue. 

“People are committing auto theft in the state of New Jersey because the data shows that they will not get caught,” said Joe Johnson, policy counsel at the ACLU of New Jersey  “What will changing the bail rules do, or what will adding criminal penalties do, when we are only applying criminal penalties in 7 percent of cases?”

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