🚨 Carjackings and high-end car thefts on the rise

🚨 Mayors from both parties are calling for changes to juvenile law in NJ

🚨 The ACLU said tougher laws against "children" are ineffectual

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey thinks the call by some New Jersey mayors to toughen juvenile crime penalties is wrong.

Democratic Edison Mayor Sam Joshi and Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik, also a Democrat, have said that juveniles should be charged as adults when they are involved with car thefts and home burglaries.

Hornik said there are no consequences for teens who commit a crime, according to News 12 coverage of a press briefing Monday.

ACLU of New Jersey Policy Director Sarah Fajardo disagrees, saying "tough on crime" policies are ineffectual and only furthers mass incarceration.

"We oppose Mayor Joshi’s calls for increased criminal penalties for children. It is critical that we prioritize age-appropriate treatment and access to rehabilitation for juveniles who come into contact with the criminal legal system," Fajardo told New Jersey 101.5 in an email. "Above all, New Jersey must invest far more in keeping kids out of prison than keeping them in."

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Monmouth County motor vehicle thefts and burglaries March 2023-March 2024
Monmouth County motor vehicle thefts and burglaries March 2023-March 2024 (Monmouth County Sheriff's Office)

A lack of consequences

Bryan thinks the ACLU needs to talk with law enforcement to learn the realities about how there's no consequences for juveniles.

"The bigger picture is that they're receiving large sums of money for these high-end cars. There is nothing to deter them and in fact, we have made arrests where they've said to my officers 'we'll see you tomorrow night. We're coming back to your town," Bryan said.

Joshi began to speak out about juvenile crime Monday after the son of the owner of the Patel Brothers food market was dragged out of his Bentley SUV by three teens before he fought them off.

Two of the teens were taken into custody Thursday.  The third was found in Rahway on Monday, according to Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan

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A man is dragged from his car in the parking lot of Patel Brothers in Edison 3/15/24
A man is dragged from his car in the parking lot of Patel Brothers in Edison 3/15/24 (ABC 7 Eyewitness News via YouTube)

License plate readers come to Secaucus

Secaucus Town Council approved a $500,000 plan in January to install license plate readers at all entrances and exits into and out of town.

"The use of license plate reader technology to encircle the entire town to support our crime fighting efforts is a major proactive measure by Mayor Michael Gonnelli and his Town Council to safeguard Secaucus residents and their property," Town Administrator Gary Jeffas said on the police department Facebook page.

The town has not announced a start for the cameras to go online, according to Gonnelli.

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