Stafford, NJ, Police Chief Defends Checks of High-end Cars as Constitutional
STAFFORD — Police Chief Thomas Dellane addressed "speculation and inaccurate information" posted on social media in response to the department's new initiative to check high-end vehicles to make sure they aren't unlocked and ripe for thieves' picking.
The department announced on its Facebook page that officers would be "checking high end cars in the area during the evening and overnight hours." If a car was found to be unlocked or with a key fob inside a car, "we will be knocking on citizens doors to notify them of their unsecured vehicle."
The initiative came after several Ocean County towns including Barnegat and Jackson reported high end vehicle burglaries of unlocked cars that were parked at houses, some with key fobs left inside.
Lakewood was the latest town to be hit with “numerous vehicles” burglarized early Wednesday morning, according to the video posted by The Lakewood Scoop.
Dellane said officers would “vigorously safeguard the constitutional rights of all citizens and would never intentionally violate anyone’s rights.”
Officers have been trained to use tactics used by thieves to make the determination and will observe from a public roadway.
"We have purposely chosen not to share the tactics our officers will utilize so as not to provide this information to others who may not be aware of how to visually determine if a vehicle is unlocked with the key fob inside," Dellane wrote.
The chief said the initiative is a form of community policing and compared the initiative to an officer noticing the front door to a house open at 3 AM and the department's nightly business checks.
"We will always follow up to make sure that no crime has occurred and advise the property owner so that they are aware of the condition. Our main objective is to serve and protect our residents and visitors," Dellane wrote.
The department had another initiative in place on its social media, the 9 PM Routine, which suggests residents remove valuables from their vehicles, lock the doors to their residences, turn on exterior lights, and activate all alarms and security systems.