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HomeMorris CountyMorris Reflects on Auto Theft Progress, Trend of Home Burglaries

Morris Reflects on Auto Theft Progress, Trend of Home Burglaries

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MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, and Morris Plains Police Chief and Morris County Police Chief’s Association President Michael Koroski remind residents always to secure their homes and vehicles.

Coordinated law enforcement efforts have shown great promise, as auto theft in Morris County decreased 27.8% countywide last year compared to the year before, and continued vigilance by our citizens will reduce theft opportunities presented by unsecured homes and vehicles. This contrasts with New Jersey statistics, demonstrating an increased number of stolen vehicles statewide.

The decrease is due in part to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit, Morris County Sheriff’s Trends and Analysis Team (MCSTAT), Morris County Auto Theft Task Force, and our municipal departments remaining focused on combating the trend of organized thieves stealing unlocked vehicles or key fobs in unsecured homes. Some municipal departments dedicate officers voluntarily to the Auto Theft Task Force. These agencies work collaboratively with the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force to target organized criminal auto theft activity.

Motor Vehicle TheftsMorris CountyNew Jersey
202026911,785
202124014,416
202227315,816
202319716,605

However, it is important to note that criminals are entering unlocked cars or homes or breaking into residences in search of key fobs and other valuables, escalating the danger of confrontation with homeowners. 

These criminal enterprises operate in a coordinated fashion utilizing “drop cars,” where multiple members are deployed in a neighborhood simultaneously. They canvas for unlocked doors and target luxury brand models. Over the past year, Morris County has seen thieves strike most frequently on weekdays, often during the overnight hours. Hotspot municipalities in the county include Parsippany, Morris Township, Montville, Morristown, Mountain Lakes, and Randolph.

Residents are asked to be mindful when safeguarding their homes and vehicles:

  • Ensure all doors, including interior garage doors and windows, are locked.
  • Do not leave key fobs in cars, especially since they can be used to access homes.
  • Remove delivered packages from porches and in front of your residence quickly.
  • Park luxury cars in the garage whenever possible, even during the day.
  • Lock vehicles when not in use.
  • Keep the exterior of your residence well-lit.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Steering wheel security devices are recommended.
  • Review home surveillance recordings regularly and share footage of suspicious activity with local law enforcement.

In recent years, Morris County law enforcement leaders have supported proposed federal and state legislation that would assist law enforcement in combatting vehicle theft.

Prosecutor Carroll said, “Auto theft is a statewide problem we are approaching with a regional strategy in Morris County through coordination, intelligence-sharing, technology, and public awareness. Law enforcement is seeing networks operating in Morris County that employ the use of juveniles to enter cars and homes, knowing criminal penalties are less strict than those for adult defendants. Our goal is to break the chain of conduct being exhibited by juvenile offenders, leading them away from the path of becoming career criminals as adults. At the same time, the MCPO aims to prosecute adult defendants to the fullest extent possible, recognizing that members of these networks pose a risk of reoffence. One such strategy is to petition the court to grant pretrial detention, when appropriate under the Bail Reform Law, which could disrupt their operation. Our federal law enforcement partners have also conveyed that they are targeting the financial incentives that are the driving force behind these vehicle thefts.

I recognize that discovering an intruder in your home is a frightening situation. For your safety, I ask that residents not confront suspected home intruders. Instead, contact your local police immediately.”

Sheriff Gannon said, “Our efforts are working due to partnerships between our residents and the police.  Educating our citizens, proactive, diligent police patrols, and good intelligence-driven detective work are making a difference, but more must be done. Criminals are becoming more aggressive and dangerous.  The safety of our residents is of paramount importance. The Morris County Sheriff’s Office will continue to take care of our duties and responsibilities while collaborating with our law enforcement partners.”

Chief President Koroski said, “The decrease in auto thefts in Morris County is a testament to the work of our municipal law enforcement patrol officers and detectives. The importance of the partnerships in Morris County, led by Prosecutor Carroll, Sheriff Gannon, and the membership of the Morris County Chiefs Association, cannot be understated. Residents can count themselves among that partnership by locking their vehicles and homes and reporting suspicious activity, without delay, to 911.”

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, Lt. Governor of Division 9 Kiwanis Club of NJ, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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