Any Newark driver who was hoping to start their car to help it warm up this winter while waiting inside may have to keep an eye out for police — or risk facing a fine.
Cops in New Jersey’s biggest city are handing out hefty tickets to anyone caught leaving their car running and unattended. Under the new law, drivers would get a $250 ticket for the first offense, up to $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for a third.
The city is using a state statute designed to cut pollution in order to carry out the crackdown. The goal is to cut down on car thefts, and have officers use their time to combat crime instead of spending time on a stolen car case some officials believe is preventable. In Newark, there have been more than 1,200 car thefts so far in 2019, with roughly a quarter of them done with the cars on.
“Three hundred cars were taken with engines running, “ said Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. “[At] a minimum of two hours per officer, that’s 600 hours working on people leaving keys in car, when they can be working on more productive policing.”
While Newark police are hoping to limit what they call this crime of opportunity, it drew missed reactions from some people on Friday. One man who had his car stolen as he left it running to quickly pick something up at a liquor store said it was a good thing.
“Better a ticket than going through the hassle of recovering your car and all that,” said the man who didn’t wish to be identified.
Still, others weren’t so sure. “If it’s a two-minute, 5-minute thing, I don’t see why they should give a ticket,“ said resident Manny Robinson.