A legislative initiative led by New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney seeks to combat a dramatic rise in car thefts in Monroe County and across the state.
Cooney highlighted a 345 percent increase in stolen vehicles in Monroe County, with an even more alarming 829 percent surge in Rochester alone, within the first seven months of 2023. This spike reflects a broader trend of vehicle thefts across Western New York, prompting Cooney to take action.
The proposed Car Theft Prevention Act would empower judges with the discretion to set bail for individuals charged with felony criminal possession of stolen property—a significant change from the current law, which issues only an appearance ticket for such offenses. Cooney emphasized that the bill would not mandate bail but would provide judges the option to consider it, based on the specific circumstances of each case.
Community members have voiced concerns that the rise in auto thefts goes beyond the loss of property, affecting the lives of residents like single mothers and college students who rely on their vehicles for daily responsibilities. Incidents of stolen cars have not only been frequent but also dangerous, with instances such as Kias being overturned in neighborhood streets. Although the legislation has been introduced, it will not come up for consideration until 2024, leaving communities to hope for a future decrease in such crimes.
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