Officials in Atlantic County are alerting residents to a significant spike in vehicle thefts since the beginning of the year.

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According to the New Jersey State Police Real Time Crime Center–South via the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office,

  • There were 95 reported vehicle thefts between January 1st and March 8th of this year in Atlantic County
  • For the same time period in 2021, there were 54 vehicle thefts in Atlantic County.

Atlantic County Chief of County Investigators Bruce DeShields says,

"I would like everyone to exercise caution. Do not leave your garage door opener, car fob or keys in your vehicle. And never, under circumstances, leave your car unattended and running to go inside a store or restaurant or any other stop."

DeShields also points out that car owners have a false sense of security while their key fob is in their possession if they exit their vehicle while it is running.

"Sure, you didn’t leave the keys in the car, but your vehicle is running, could still be stolen and a thief will drive it until they are finished, shut it off and then abandon it. Please safeguard your vehicles. Help us help you, residents and visitors of Atlantic County."

Car thefts and gun crimes

A state police analysis also shows a strong connection between cases involving receiving stolen property, including stolen vehicles, and shootings.

Last year, the State Police reported just over 3,000 arrests involving receiving stolen property (most auto theft cases in New Jersey are charged as receiving stolen property).

Of those arrested for receiving stolen property, 211 were involved in 377 shootings and 285 were arrested with a gun.

Simple tips

Acting State Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin offered the following tips to prevent vehicle theft:

  • Never leave your keys or key fob in your vehicle
  • Do not leave your vehicle running while unattended
  • Park your car in well-lit areas
  • Ensure all windows are closed
  • Hide your valuables
  • Make sure all doors are locked

Vehicles that are most at risk of being stolen in New Jersey

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