NJ launches police grant program for $10M to fight auto thefts

TRENTON – Law enforcement agencies around the state have less than a week left to apply for a share of $17 million dollars in federal money, aimed at cracking down on auto thefts and gun violence.

Funding is available through two separate, competitive grant programs — the first is a $10 million fund to secure or expand existing technology for automated license plate recognition.

When that program was first announced in April, the state confirmed that New Jersey saw 14,320 vehicles stolen in 2021 — the most since 2012.

Data collection wasn’t complete for the first quarter of this year — but at that point was on track to have 37% more stolen cars than the same period in 2021 and 53% more than the same period in 2020.

The other grant program now accepting applications is a $7 million fund for securing or expanding existing gunshot detection technology.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced the launch of the grant application process through the Department of Law & Public Safety, using federal American Rescue Plan funds.

“According to the data that we have from the State Police, these stolen vehicles are not always, in fact often are not isolated incidents,” Platkin previously said back in the Spring.

“They’re increasingly linked to other serious crimes, in particular shootings,” he continued.

Some of the $10 million will go to the State Police, for setting up cameras along major roadways.

The technology will also be installed at both fixed locations throughout New Jersey and mounted on mobile units.

Applications are due by October 15 and the grant period will begin on or about Dec. 1 and run through November 2024.

Full eligibility and application requirements have been made available online.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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