Secaucus car thefts prompt new security measures to curb crime wave – NBC New York

A town in New Jersey is taking new action to crack down on car theft.

Secaucus will soon have security cameras stationed at every way in and out of town. The goal: keep an eye out for stolen cars leaving town.

Police in the town said there were 39 cars stolen last year, and 23 the year before that. It’s part of a crime wave growing exponentially.

The cameras typically mounted atop patrol cars will be used to try and catch car thieves before they leave town.

The town’s council voted unanimously to spend half a million dollars to install 44 cameras on every entrance and exit to the 6.6-square mile town.

“We’re the only ones in the state that will every entrance and exit camera’d. There is only one way into the north end where I live, and quite frankly, once you’re in, there’s no getting out,” Mayor Michael Gonnelli said.

Secaucus is actually an island, surrounded by the Hackensack river, which the police chief says makes it that much more feasible to install the license plate readers to catch thieves. And it’s not just car theft that prompted this move.

“A stolen car is predominantly used to commit other crimes, whether it be burglaries, whether it be other stolen cars, whether it be residential burglaries, whether it be shootings or homicides,” Police Chief Dennis Miller said. “Auto theft is at the hub of a lot of issues.”

The cameras will be monitored solely by police and will only capture license plates, not the identity of the driver.

“It’s not designed to surveill the residents’ comings and goings. It’s a tool to use to detect criminal activity,” Miller explained.

While the sign at the front of town won’t say “welcome to Secaucus you’re on camera,” police and residents hope just knowing the cameras are in place there may be a deterrent.

“Sometimes when people just know it’s here, they won’t go 90 miles an hour and come in here with plates that police are looking for,” resident Jeanette said. “I think it’s excellent.”

The cameras will be ordered soon, but there is not installation date yet.

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