NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Newark has become a center for carjacking.

Three of the suspects in the Dec. 15 carjacking murder at The Mall at Short Hills were from Newark. The fourth was from nearby Irvington.

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The New York Times reported that Newark had seen carjackings fall in recent years, but they have returned with a vengeance. There were 345 alone in Newark in 2012, and 475 so far this year in Essex County. By comparison, 159 carjackings have been reported in New York City in 2013.

Law enforcement sources told the Times one reason for the spike is Newark’s close proximity to ports. The stolen cars are moved quickly to overseas markets. Some of the thieves work with organized rings that send cars to Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Also, new security systems make parked cars harder to steal.

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The most commonly carjacked models are Hondas, followed by Nissans, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Fords.

Dustin Friedland, a 30-year-old lawyer from Hoboken, was fatally shot in the parkage garage of the Short Hills mall when carjackers approached his Range Rover as he was leaving the shopping center with his wife, who was not injured.

Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington; Karif Ford, 31, of Newark; Basim Henry, 32, of Newark; and Kevin Roberts, 33, of Newark, have been charged with murder, carjacking and possession of a weapon.

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