Acting Essex County Prosecutor, Carolyn A. Murray promises to crack down on future carjackers who do not know of the serious consequences of their crime with its new Anti-Carjacking Public Awareness Campaign.
“When you pull out a gun and demand someone’s vehicle that is a serious crime and the penalties are severe if you are convicted. We want to send that message to young people who sometimes seem to view carjacking as nothing more than a theft” said Prosecutor Murray.
It is believed that carjackers are unaware of the severity of their crime and because of the many advances in technology and anti-theft devices, carjacking seems to be the go to option to steal a vehicle.
In 1990, Essex County led the country in car theft, in 2009, there was just over 200 carjackings and currently, there have been more than 400 per year.
The campaign includes billboards, bus placards, and flyers; the billboards are now located in Newark, NJ on in 4th Avenue and Broadway; 61 Pennsylvania at the intersection of Parkhurst; and 97 Sussex Avenue.
Starting in 2010, a Carjacking Task Force was created and on Aug. 1 this year, East Orange, Belleville, and Irvington Police Departments have become apart of the campaign by sending over police officers to serve on the Carjacking Task Force.
“In addition to putting would be criminals on notice, we want to alert the public to be cautious,” Prosecutor Murray said.
If charged with carjacking or attempted carjacking, an individual faces a potential maximum penalty of 15 years in prison; 25 years in prison if there are serious body injures; and life in prison or the federal death penalty if there are deaths.