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NJ Billboard Campaign Tries To Combat Spike In Carjackings

Billboards To Appear In Newark, Irvington & East Orange
A new billboard being used in a campaign to combat carjackings in New Jersey is seen on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

A new billboard being used in a campaign to combat carjackings in New Jersey is seen on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Authorities in New Jersey have launched a new campaign in an effort to combat a rising number of carjackings.

The initiative announced Monday in Essex County includes billboards, bus placards and flyers and features the faces of convicted carjackers. It also reminds people that carjacking can be tried as a federal crime with no chance at parole.

Authorities said the county is on track to have more than 400 carjackings this year, up from around 200 in 2009. Most carjackings happen early in the morning or late at night, authorities said.

“Carjacking is the fastest growing and potentially the most dangerous of crimes against persons and property,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.

That’s why local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together to try to reduce carjackings.

“You shouldn’t have to worry every time you get in your car that someone is going to put a gun to your head,” said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

Authorities said technology that is supposed to make cars harder to steal, such as pushbutton ignitions, might make criminals more likely to commit carjackings.

The new cars are very difficult to start without a key and must be on in order to be stolen.

“In addition to putting would-be criminals on notice, we want to alert the public to be cautious,” Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said.

The billboards will be located in Newark, Irvington and East Orange.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)