Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said 75% of stolen cars throughout Nassau this year were done so by Newark residents during a press conference on Thursday.
From Jan. 1- Mar. 31 of this year, more than 300 stolen vehicle reports were filed to the county’s police department, a 255% increase from the same time frame last year, according to statistics.
Ryder and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman criticized New York’s bail reform and Raise the Age laws, saying they are putting the safety of New Yorkers at risk.
“Because of laws like cashless bail and Raise the Age, people in the whole state have been less safe,” Blakeman said. “We have people who commit crime after crime in New York. They steal a car, they’re out the same day. The next day they steal a car, they’re out the next day.”
In 2017, New York raised the age of criminal responsibility to individuals who are at least 18 years old. The civil age of majority and age of criminal responsibility is 18 in both New York and New Jersey. Any juvenile case for an individual 13 years or older can be transferred to an adult court in New York. In New Jersey, a discretionary and presumptive waiver can be used for youth 15 years or older that meet certain criteria.
Ryder said crime rings throughout Newark are sending younger individuals to steal cars since they will not be prosecuted as adults.
“You can’t keep letting people out of jail,” Ryder said. “They know if they come here, they will not get arrested, but still, they also apply to Raise the Age. They send 15 and 16 and 17-year-old kids to do these acts and they know if they get caught… they’re going to get out.”
Blakeman signed an executive order earlier this year which cites a need to “increase transparency by disclosing in daily reports the pending criminal case data and bail status of those rearrested” by the Police Department. He said the reports will be made available online.
Officials said nearly 90 percent of the 11,000 people arrested in the county in 2021 were released without bail. More than 300 of those individuals were released without bail following a weapons-related offense, according to officials.
Ryder referred to an April incident where five police officers were injured when a stolen car from Great Neck with three New Jersey teenagers in it crashed into patrol vehicles.
Police received multiple reports of suspicious males attempting to break into vehicles throughout the North Shore of Nassau County, including Flower Hill, East Hills, Manhasset, Plandome and Greenvale.
Ryder said a Nassau detective noticed the stolen Mercedes in Roslyn and attempted to stop the car, but the driver of the Mercedes rammed into the detective’s car, according to officials.
Officials said the three teenagers fled in the Mercedes, which had a flat tire after hitting the detective’s car before all three were taken into custody on the Long Island Expressway.
Ryder said one of the officers was treated at the hospital for a concussion along with injuries to his neck, hip, wrist and back. Another, he said, was treated for wrist damage and a third officer was treated for neck and shoulder pain. One detective was also treated for a concussion and another was treated for a cervical strain, Ryder said.
The three teenagers from Newark – two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old – were arrested, officials said. Several police officers remained out of commission nearly three months later, Ryder said.
During a public safety forum at the Village of Great Neck in March, Ryder said the problem of stolen vehicles was evident throughout the Great Neck peninsula.
In 21 of the 23 cases of stolen vehicles throughout the peninsula, he said, key fobs had been left in the cars and he urged residents to be more cautious when locking their vehicles for the night.
Ryder said a majority of stolen cars that have been recovered are located in Newark. He also said car thieves will drive the car around, and leave it somewhere and if nobody comes near the car and it is not impounded, then the car will be rented to another individual who uses it to commit other crimes.
Stealing cars that have garage door openers inside are also ways to attract repeat offenders, Ryder said, as criminals will sometimes rent the car but keep the garage door button to come in and burglarize an individual’s home.
Ryder said the county’s police department is working with Newark to catch the offenders after they committed their crimes on Long Island and flee back to New Jersey.
Ryder also said the Nassau County Crimestoppers are offering rewards of up to $5,000 for information that leads to arrests of car theft criminals.
He and Blakeman assured Nassau residents that the county’s police department is doing everything in its power to keep residents safe, warning criminals to commit crimes elsewhere.
“We’re going to keep locking them up,” Ryder said. “That’s what we’re going to do. That’s all part of the deal. We keep our commitment to the people in Nassau County, and we’re going to keep doing it.”
“If you come to Nassau County to steal cars or commit another crime, we are coming after you,” Blakeman said. “We will hunt you down. And we’re going to be proactive until you get the message that doing a crime in Nassau County is not a good idea, because we will not give up.”