I’m writing you today to discuss a very serious public safety trend emerging within Morris County in regards to stolen vehicles, occupied home burglaries and bail reform.
Last night two residences were victimized in Madison, NJ along the Chatham Borough border by criminals attempting to steal vehicles and entering homes. In one instance an unsecured vehicle was entered and the criminal suspect attempted to utilize the garage door opener to enter the residence. Luckily the garage door opener had been deactivated prior to this incident and the suspects were unable to gain entry to the residence. In the second incident the suspects utilized the garage door opener, from an unsecured vehicle, to gain access to the house in their search for the vehicle’s key fobs. The home was equipped with an alarm system which activated upon entry to the home and the suspects fled.
This is a growing concern within our region of the County and Morris County as a whole. Florham Park, East Hanover, Madison, and Chatham Township have all been victimized by occupied home burglaries within the last three weeks where criminal suspects have entered the homes searching for key fobs to steal vehicles and Chatham Borough has one of the highest stolen vehicle victimization rates within the County. Our region’s close proximity to major thoroughfares, such as Columbia Turnpike, Route 24, Route 280 and Route 124 provides these criminal actors with easy access and regress from our communities.
The good news is residents are beginning to listen to our public service announcements and are removing their key fobs from their vehicles, making the theft of those vehicles more difficult. The criminal element, however, is adapting to our countermeasures and are now entering unsecured vehicles in search of garage door openers in an effort to gain access to our homes. Once inside our homes they’re searching for the key fobs, purses, money or any other valuable they can quickly and easily take. The scariest part of this brazenly criminal conduct is they’re entering occupied homes without any regard for the potential threat and danger that conduct causes not only to themselves but more importantly to our residents. As residents and Police continue to take proactive steps to reduce victimization these criminals are raising their level of criminal activity to achieve their desired results. It is only a matter of time before our proactive steps and their escalated response turns violent.
Our investigations have shown a direct correlation to the catch and release approach our State has taken to criminal activity. As an example, the three criminal suspects we arrested after the stolen vehicle pursuit and subsequent crash that we posted to Facebook on May 31, 2022, resulted in the male criminal actor being released after 4 hours of custody and the two juvenile criminals, with extensive criminal histories, despite our efforts to have them lodged in juvenile detention were released without consequence. Furthermore, the investigation into the Florham Park occupied home burglary posted to Facebook on August 17, 2022 has revealed the potential suspects were arrested in Morris County in July for similar offenses and later released. If anyone thinks these are just juveniles who pose no significant risk to the safety of our residents or the residents of this County or this State I direct you to our July 26, 2022 Facebook post detailing the arrest of several criminals by the Denville Police Department who were in possession of a loaded handgun after they had been observed via video surveillance in Florham Park and after attempting to commit several crimes in Madison.
Several of the region’s Police Chiefs met with the Morris County Sheriff and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office to discuss a multi-pronged approach to combating these criminals who have been allowed to victimize and re-victimize our residents due to failures in criminal justice reform. Aside from increased vigilance and residents acting as force multipliers in our communities, we all must take an aggressive and sustained approach to demanding reform legislatively. I encourage all residents to continuously contact your State representatives to demand change and help bring public safety back to our State.
Florham Park belongs to the 27th Legislative District. The names and telephone numbers of our representatives are listed below. Please help us protect our communities and make a positive impact for all of Morris County.
- State Senator Richard Codey
- Assemblywoman Mila Jasey
- Assemblyman John McKeon
Stay safe and vigilant!
Chief of Police
September 2, 2022