A pair of New Jersey Senators say an increase in reported child luring in New Jersey led them to introduce a bill that would set tougher penalties for attempted child abductions. The measure sponsored by Sen. Dick Codey and Sen. Bob Gordon gained the approval of a Senate committee yesterday.

“The abduction of a child is one of the most horrendous crimes that can be committed and protecting our children is one of the most sacred responsibilities we have,” says Codey. “Tougher penalties will send a clear message to pedophiles and to anyone else who would harm or attempt to abduct a child that they will be dealt with severely. Now, if you lure, you go to jail.”

The bill would increase penalties for convictions of luring, making the penalty for a first offense a five to 10 year sentence with mandatory time served in prison. Current law allows judges discretion in sentencing a first-time offender to a prison term.

Additionally, under Megan’s Law convicted sex offenders are required to register each year with the municipality in which they live. The bill would provide that offenders are provided documentation notifying them of the penalties for certain crimes against children, including luring, and of any other requirements of Megan’s Law that may apply.

“These incidents were warning signs that alerted us to do everything we can to keep our children safe and secure in our communities,” says Gordon. “We won’t tolerate any threat to young people and we won’t allow anyone who would exploit their vulnerabilities to avoid justice. They will go to jail so they can’t harm children or anyone else.”

A series of child luring cases were reported in New Jersey late last year, including many in Bergen County as well as the horrific murder of a 12-year-old southern New Jersey girl. As a result, at least two towns imposed 8 p.m. curfews for children under age 18 on Oct. 30, known as Mischief Night and on Oct. 31, Halloween night.