MORRIS COUNTY — While law enforcement efforts to date have shown great promise, auto theft remains a problem throughout Morris County. Continued cooperation by our citizens is 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) have 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.
|2023 (as of December)
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 vehicles targeted by thieves include BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and Honda.
Morris County accounts for 1.6% 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 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.
Morris County Prosecutor Carroll stated: “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.”
Sheriff Gannon 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.