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Marlboro mayor announces ‘Take the Pledge’ safety initiative

MARLBORO — In an attempt to stop the theft of vehicles in the township, Mayor Jonathan Hornik and Police Chief Peter Pezzullo are asking Marlboro residents to “Take the Pledge.”

Residents are being asked to go online and pledge to keep their homes and vehicles safe while making sure to communicate with police about any signs of suspicious activity.

After a resident signs the pledge, a Marlboro police officer will deliver a “We Took the Pledge” lawn sign to their home.

This campaign is a continuation of the township’s 2018 “See Something. Say Something. We Will Do Something” campaign. That campaign was launched in response to a number of school shootings that occurred in the United States that year.

Municipal officials said the “See Something. Say Something. We Will Do Something” initiative successfully increased engagement between members of the community and police and has now widened to cover safety involving theft.

“This past March, in response to an increase in vehicle thefts, I expanded the ‘See Something. Say Something. We will Do Something’ program to include home and vehicle safety,” Hornik said in a press release.

“By asking our residents to take basic steps such as locking their car door, removing the key fob, ensuring their home is secure and, most importantly, immediately reporting suspicious activity to the police, we have made a difference.

“A posted lawn sign at the end of a driveway reminds neighbors to take precautions and sends a message to potential thieves to ‘Get out of Marlboro!’ ” the mayor said.

In response to concerns Hornik expressed earlier this year at a time when police were reporting weekly vehicle thefts, Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference in Marlboro on April 29 to announce a $10 million investment to address the vehicle theft issues that have been plaguing communities statewide.

Further, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced the reversal of a non-pursuit policy and will now allow police officers to pursue individuals who steal vehicles.

Pezzullo said, “The investment in technologies and the ability to pursue when necessary, in addition to public awareness, is making a difference. Thefts have decreased since we expanded the program and when residents contact our police dispatch center immediately upon seeing something out of place or suspicious we are able to respond quickly.

“This community partnership has resulted in 12 arrests since the rollout in March. My police officers have done an outstanding job and I commend every one of them for their vigilance and service,” the police chief said.

According to Hornik, almost every vehicle that has been stolen in Marlboro in recent months had been left unlocked and had the key fob inside. He said that can lead to a suspect having access to garage door openers and ultimately to the home.

“Public awareness began with social media posts, emails and nightly police SWIFT 911 texts reminding residents to lock their cars and take the fob. Asking residents to take the safety pledge and to display a lawn sign is the next step in public awareness,” the mayor said.

Residents are being asked to hide any valuables they may leave in their vehicles, to lock the vehicle’s doors and to make sure their key fob is out of the vehicle, and to secure their residences. The pledge also asks residents to immediately report any suspicious activity they see to the police.

Hornik announced the “Take the Pledge” initiative during a recent meeting of the mayor and Township Council. A video has been posted on Marlboro’s official social media page and an email was sent to individuals who have registered.

A link to the Pledge Portal is on the Quick Links and Actions section of the website homepage at www.marlboro-nj.gov

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