🎥 New license plate readers on bridges connecting NJ to Staten Island

🎥 Officials claim cameras led to drop in car thefts

🎥 Cameras can also help to track vehicles used in crimes

ELIZABETH — New cameras that can detect and read license plates are helping authorities crack down on auto thieves stealing cars and taking them across state lines.

Automatic license plate readers are already installed on the Goethals and George Washington Bridges, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Another 24 enhanced cameras will be installed at the Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing by 2026.

The Port Authority says it's investing $10 million in the cameras. It's worth every penny, according to officials.

“This crime-fighting technology has proven itself to be invaluable across myriad types of investigations, and we are proud to assist wherever we can to keep our facilities and our neighbors safe," said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole.

License plate readers at the Goethals Bridge (Port Authority of NY and NJ)
License plate readers at the Goethals Bridge (Port Authority of NY and NJ)

License plate readers credited for drop in car thefts

Officials said Monday that the cameras have already led to a drop in motor vehicle thefts, specifically in Staten Island. They're deterring thieves that previously stole cars on the New York side and drove them into New Jersey.

Staten Island was the only borough in New York City to see a drop in car thefts in 2023, according to Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon. That's after a surge of car thefts in 2022 of nearly 110%, McMahon said.

This year, car thefts have decreased another 30%.

"There’s no doubt that the arrival of license plate readers on our New Jersey bridge crossings have helped play a major role in deterring crime, holding both car thieves and toll violators accountable, and returning stolen vehicles back to their rightful owners," said McMahon.

READ MORE: This is how much kids are paid to steal cars in New Jersey

Vehicular tracking technology at Port Authority crossings (PA of NY and NJ)
Vehicular tracking technology at Port Authority crossings (PA of NY and NJ)

Cameras can also help to track vehicles used in crimes

The cameras could also help track stolen cars going from New Jersey into New York.

Around 36 cars are stolen every day in New Jersey, according to recent data from State Police.

Many of the stolen vehicles are taken to ports and shipped overseas to support terrorism, said FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge Jim Dennehy. State Police and the Port Authority are working with the FBI to stop these stolen vehicles from being sent out.

The cameras will also be useful to track vehicles in violent crimes and missing persons investigations, Attorney General Matthew Platkin said to NJ.com.

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