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Gov. Hochul unveils $55 million plan to deter vehicle thefts in WNY

Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled a plan to help support law enforcement in combating car thefts.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday an action plan to combat car thefts in Western New York and that state. 

Officials hope the plan, called the Comprehensive Auto-Theft Reduction Strategy, will help lower the large number of vehicle thefts, especially KIA and Hyundai models.

"I want all the car thieves out there to know: You’ve reached the end of the road," Governor Hochul said. "My top priority has always been keeping New Yorkers safe and today we are launching a new, comprehensive strategy to combat a surge in car thefts. Too many New Yorkers have experienced the shock of waking up to an empty driveway or the heartbreak of seeing one of their most valuable possessions disappear, that is why we are supporting local law enforcement to prosecute and prevent these thefts, and ensuring car owners are taking appropriate steps to safeguard their vehicles." 

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The $55 million, five-point plan is expected to help reduce car thefts in Erie, Niagara, Monroe and other counties. $50 million will be used to for law enforcement technology and equipment, and $5 million to offer youth justice alternatives for teens and young adults. 

“A car is not a toy. It is one of the most expensive and important purchases someone can make, next to buying a home. Someone should not have to worry that the vehicle parked near their home could be stolen in seconds, and they should not have to worry about someone being seriously injured or losing their life all because of something they saw online. We commend the Governor’s leadership on this issue, and in accordance with her plan, we will be notifying owners of these vehicles to take action to prevent these thefts and protect themselves and others, "  said New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder.  

“Preventing auto theft means taking the appropriate measures to address the issue head on. We thank Governor Hochul for enacting this detailed plan to not just put a band aid on the problem, but to solve it. DCJS is a committed partner ready to lend its resources in support of this effort so that New Yorkers feel safe in their neighborhoods and homes," said Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado.

According to Hochul, car thefts have increased 213% so far this year in Erie County compared to last year.  In Rochester, vehicle thefts increased 345% in the first seven months of 2023, the largest increase in the nation. 

In addition to the new technology and youth justice alternatives, there will be an increase in enforcement and data sharing to local law enforcement.   The  New York State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice Services will also assist local law enforcement. 

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